Endo Health Solutions Inc. anticipates it will cost at least $520 million to settle or otherwise exit the vaginal mesh product liability litigation it now faces. In 2013, Endo recorded an incremental pretax charge of about $316 million, increasing its liability reserve to about $520 million as of the end of last year, according to a securities filing. A loss in excess of that figure remains a “reasonable possibility,” Endo said.
The pharmaceutical company’s American Medical Systems Inc. (AMS) unit faces about 22,000 lawsuits claiming its vaginal mesh products are defective and have caused chronic pain, incontinence and other injuries. The suits are consolidated in multidistrict litigation in West Virginia, as well as other state courts.
“The increase in our reserve reflects management’s ongoing assessment of our product liability portfolio, including the vaginal mesh cases, the status of the company’s ongoing settlement discussions related to vaginal mesh litigation and the inherent uncertainty as to the ultimate costs of resolving this litigation,” Endo said. “AMS and the company intend to contest vigorously all currently pending cases and any future cases… and to explore other options as appropriate in the best interests of the company.”
Endo said it believed the settlements, judgments and legal defense costs related to the mesh litigation may be covered, in full or in part, by its product liability insurance policies. Endo has not recovered any insurance money as of the end of 2013, however according to reports.
AMS vaginal mesh trials were scheduled to begin last December but were delayed due to ongoing obligations. AMS previously agreed to settle a small number of cases, and the company is expected to attempt a global settlement of the cases pending in federal court in West Virginia before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin at some point in the future. The first AMS bellwether trial is now scheduled to begin on April 7, 2014 and the second trial is set for May 5, 2014.
Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific Corp and C.R. Bard Inc. also face thousands of vaginal mesh injury lawsuits. Bard is the furthest along in litigation. Bard was hit with a $3.6 million verdict in a California state court trial in July 2012.
In addition, at least two Bard mesh bellwether trials in the West Virginia MDL have resulted in victories for the plaintiff. In August 2013, a jury awarded plaintiff Donna Cisson $2 million in damages, and plaintiff Wanda Queen settled her mesh case on the eve of trial for an undisclosed sum.
The transvaginal mesh implant lawyers of Childers, Schlueter & Smith continue to review and investigate new potential claims for victims across the U.S. If you have questions, please contact us for a free evaluation of your potential case.