Federal judge tosses out 150 vaginal mesh cases against Bard

A federal judge overseeing some lawsuits against C.R. Bard ($BCR) over its vaginal mesh products dismissed about 150 cases earlier this week. The decision marks a brighter point in the company's legal saga with the devices.

Judge Joseph Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia tossed out 149 suits, saying that "all claims have been compromised and settled," according to court documents seen by Law360. Settlement terms were not disclosed, but the agreements also let Medtronic ($MDT) subsidiary Covidien off the hook. The company supplied the mesh to Bard for its products.

Goodwin's decision can't be appealed, which is good news for Bard. Earlier this year, the same court upheld a $2 million decision against Bard in a case over its Avaulta pelvic mesh. A West Virginia jury awarded plaintiff Donna Cisson $1.75 million in punitive damages and $250,000 in compensatory damages in 2013, prompting Bard to appeal the decision.

Bard argued that Goodwin, the judge in the case, excluded crucial evidence about its device's 510(k) clearance. Goodwin also gave the jury improper directions and wrongly allowed evidence about a Material Safety Data Sheet for the resin used to make the mesh, the company said.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit didn't see things quite the same way. The court upheld Goodwin on all counts and said that the lower court was right to stop Bard from presenting information about the device's regulatory clearance as evidence.

Meanwhile, Bard has been trying to settle with some plaintiffs rather than battle it out in court. Last year, the company said it would fork over more than $200 million to settle 3,000 cases by women who were allegedly injured from its vaginal mesh.

That settlement resolves about one-fifth of outstanding lawsuits over the company's devices. But Bard still faces more than 21,000 product liability suits for the devices.

In November, the company said it would shell out $3.6 million in damages in the first case that went to trial over one of its transvaginal mesh implants. A court had reduced the award from $5.5 million after finding that the doctor who implanted Bard's Avaulta mesh device was also at fault.

- read the Law360 story (reg. req.)

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