Mentor OB Tape Lawsuits Consolidated and Moved to Middle District of Georgia
December 15, 2008
The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has consolidated 22 federal lawsuits against Mentor Corp, the creator of the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Actions consolidated by the JPML are commonly referred to as multi-district litigations (MDLs).
Mentor Corp. faces 22 different ObTape lawsuits in 12 different Courts. These cases were filed by women who suffered severe reactions from an allegedly defective design of the ObTape Vaginal Sling. Mentor Corp.’s vaginal bladder sling was created to care for stress urinary incontinence and in 2006, Mentor stopped marketing the Mentor OB Tape.
The Mentor ObTape Sling features a “nonwoven” design, which prevents vital nutrients and oxygen, which may cause severe pain, vaginal extrusions, urinary tract erosion or infection.
In October, Mentor filed a petition with the JPML to consolidate all currently pending and prospective ObTape lawsuits. They requested that all of the cases be joined together before one judge so that pretrial litigation could be conducted in the Western District of Oklahoma, or alternatively, in the Northern District of Oklahoma or Northern District of Ohio.
There was a hearing on the petition November 20, 2008. Attorneys for the filing injured women argued against consolidating the ObTape lawsuits on the grounds that there is only one defendant in the litigation. In addition, a limited number of ObTape law firms are looking into these claims. Should an MDL be formed, these lawyers requested that the cases be moved to the Middle District of Georgia, which is the District where the first lawsuit was filed and there are the most pending ObTape lawsuits.
The Middle District of Georgia has 5 pending ObTape lawsuits. There are 4 pending lawsuits in the Middle District of Florida, 3 pending lawsuits in the Western District of Oklahoma, 2 pending lawsuits in the District of New Jersey. The Western District of Missouri, Central District of California, Northern District of Georgia, Eastern District of New York, Southern District of Georgia, Eastern District of Louisiana, Northern District of Ohio and Northern District of Oklahoma each have one pending ObTape lawsuit.
The MDL Panel found consolidation was warranted in these cases because there are common questions of fact. The MDL Panel thought that consolidation would prevent inconsistent rulings in different Districts, prevent inefficiencies in the discovery process, and save resources for the Courts and the parties to the conflict.
In the Transfer Order entered on December 3, 2008, Judge John G. Heyburn, II explained the Court’s reasoning when he wrote, “All 22 actions share factual issues as to whether Mentor’s “ObTape” brand transobturator sling, a device used to treat female stress urinary incontinence, was defectively designed and/or manufactured, and whether Mentor failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the device.”
The MDL has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land in the Middle District of Georgia. The MDL Panel indicates that Judge Land has the time and the track record to effectively preside over these cases.
If you or a loved one has used a Mentor OB Tape and suffered injuries or complications, contact our Mentor OB Tape lawyers and attorneys today for a free no obligation lawsuit consultation.