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Boston Scientific Scores Temporary Victory in GYN Mesh Lawsuit

Judge orders patients who claim company hid safety risks to amend complaint, provide more detail

Published: April 27, 2011

Three women who are suing Boston Scientific for allegedly making false claims about the safety of mesh devices used in gynecological procedures have been ordered to amend their complaint with more details and evidence to support those claims.

Plaintiffs Pamela Coleman, Mary Bower and Kathleen Paison all underwent "transvaginal tape, bladder sling, urethral suspension and cystocele repair" procedures between August 2005 and December 2006, according to a memorandum decision from District Judge Oliver Wanger last week. In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, the women claimed that the Boston Scientific mesh implanted during the procedures resulted in erosion, shrinkage and extrusion, which in turn caused them to suffer urinary retention, severe pain and re-operation to remove the mesh. They alleged that Boston Scientific knew of the safety risks associated with the mesh devices but "made false representations" about the meshes' safety and "failed to disclose" the risks.

Boston Scientific filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in February, arguing that the patients' claims were too vague — for example, they did not identify the specific mesh devices or where the procedures were performed — and that they failed to support the warranty-, negligence- and fraud-based claims they made against the company. Boston Scientific manufactures "at least nine separate products that involve mesh that could potentially fall within the Plaintiffs' vague definition," the company stated in its motion to dismiss.

In his memorandum decision issued on April 20, Judge Wanger largely agreed with Boston Scientific but dismissed only one of the plaintiffs' claims — the "implied warranty" claim — with prejudice.

The rest of the claims based on express warranty, fraud and negligent misrepresentation were also dismissed, but without prejudice, giving Boston Scientific a temporary victory in this legal battle.

Judge Wanger gave the plaintiffs 60 days to file an amended complaint with more details and evidence to support their claims, particularly whether their claims are based on a single mesh device or multiple devices "that share a common defect," as well as the specific locations where each of their procedures were performed. The case will continue if the plaintiffs follow those orders and Boston Scientific follows up with responsive pleading within 20 days of service of an amended complaint, according to the judge's memo.

Irene Tsikitas

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