Monday, December 22, 2008

ObTape Vaginal Sling: MDL in GA

Between 2003 and 2006, approximately 35,000 women who underwent a transobturator surgical procedure to treat stress incontinence and bladder leakage received a defectively designed ObTape vaginal sling manufactured by Mentor. Estimates have suggested that 17% to 18% of these women could suffer severe and debilitating complications, including infection, vaginal extrusions and urinary tract erosions.

Problems include:

* Vaginal or Pelvic Pain
* Chronic Infections
* Severe Pain in the Back, Hips and Legs
* Cellulitis
* Vaginal Extrusions
* Urinary Tract Erosions

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered that all federal lawsuits involving the Mentor ObTape Transobturator Sling be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation.

Mentor Corp. currently faces at least 22 ObTape lawsuits pending in 12 different Courts. The cases have been filed by women who have suffered severe complications allegedly caused by a defective design in a vaginal bladder sling previously sold by Mentor to treat stress urinary incontinence.

The Mentor ObTape Sling contains a “nonwoven” design, which has been found to block essential nutrients and oxygen, potentially resulting in severe pain, vaginal extrusions, urinary tract erosion or infection.

In October 2008, Mentor filed a petition with the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all of the ObTape lawsuits that are currently pending or may be filed in the future. They asked that all of the cases be centralized before one judge for coordinated pretrial litigation in the Western District of Oklahoma or, in the alternative, in the Northern District of Oklahoma or Northern District of Ohio.

At a hearing on the petition November 20, 2008, attorneys representing women who have filed these lawsuits opposed the formation of an MDL, arguing that the litigation only involves one defendant and there are currently only a limited number of ObTape law firms investigating cases. However, they asked that if an MDL was formed, that the cases be transferred to the Middle District of Georgia, where the most cases are currently pending and the first ObTape lawsuit was filed.