17 May 2014

Law Firm Sanctioned for Moving Pelvic Mesh Lawsuit to a New Court as Stalling Tactic

A law firm, Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP, has been slapped with sanctions for allegedly bringing their pelvic mesh lawsuit to a federal court in West Virginia. This move, which has been called a stalling tactic in order to delay litigation and waste resources, came after multiple court rulings that multi-district litigation (MDL) cases would be heard in Pennsylvania state court.

Notably, the claim was originally filed in Pennsylvania state court. The attorneys attempted to justify the move, arguing that defendant Secant Medical was fraudulently added to the case. But in December 2013, the judge had ruled that Secant Medical was, in fact, named properly as a defendant in the vaginal mesh MDL case.

In a recent ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin wrote, “Defense counsel’s motives here seem to be calculated to keep these cases out of state court for as long as possible and to waste the court’s time and the plaintiff’s resources…These are competent attorneys who knew or should have known when the notice of removal was filed that their arguments were objectively unreasonable and had no chance of success.”

The case in question was brought forth by plaintiff Ann Wilson, who reportedly sustained serious physical injury as a result of a pelvic mesh device that was implanted in mid-2007 as a measure to treat stress urinary incontinence.

The case of Ann Wilson v. Ethicon Women’s Health & Urology will now be heard in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia. Judge Goodwin ordered Drinker, Biddle & Reath to pay attorneys fees and other expenses that were incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the firm’s alleged stalling tactics.

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