Brenda Fulmer

Will the Coloplast Pelvic Mesh Cases be Transferred to West Virginia or Georgia?

Coloplast Corp. has asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) to consolidate and transfer all federal cases involving its pelvic mesh device to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia for coordinated pretrial proceeding (known as In re Coloplast Corp’s Pelvic Support System Product Liability Action, MDL No. 2387 (JPML)).  The lawsuits for which consolidation has been sought were originally filed in federal courts in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and involve Coloplast’s Aris, Novasilk, Restorelle and Supris devices. 

Coloplast asserts that the 13 pending actions should be centralized because they involve common questions of fact, and that transfer would advance the just and efficient conduct of the cases will also being convenient for the parties and witnesses. Coloplast also argues that consolidation of these cases before Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia makes sense because there are currently 10 lawsuits pending against Coloplast that also include a second pelvic mesh device manufactured by one of the other vaginal sling manufacturers whose cases are already pending in multi-district litigation being supervised by Judge Goodwin.

Coloplast’s brief seeking establishment of a new MDL for Aris, Novasilk, Restorelle, and Supris vaginal sling products argues that Judge Goodwin would be able to coordinate status conferences, case management orders, procedures, deadlines and discovery for all five pelvic mesh MDL proceedings.  Coloplast also asserts that it has been, and will be participating in Chief Judge Goodwin’s status conferences, will be subject to discovery deadlines in the Bard, Boston Scientific and Ethicon MDLs, and will be taking part in all other pre-trial activates in that court.

Coloplast has argued against transfer of the pending lawsuits over Aris, Novasilk, Restorelle, and Supris vaginal sling products to the Middle District of Georgia, which is where the Mentor Corporation’s ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2004) has been pending for several years.  Coloplast argues that the West Virginia forum is preferable to Georgia since there is little overlap or common issues of fact between its products and Mentor’s ObTape.

Cal Warriner of the Searcy Denney law firm serves as co-lead counsel of the Mentor ObTape MDL and supports the transfer of the Coloplast pelvic mesh cases to the Georgia MDL, especially in light of the fact that the Aris mesh products were previously manufactured by Mentor.  In early May, certain plaintiffs moved the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to transfer 15 product liability actions relating to Mentor and Coloplast to this Georgia MDL.  The JPML will hold hearings next week in Cleveland to decide whether establishment of an MDL is appropriate for the Coloplast cases as well as the most appropriate venue for the MDL.

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