By his own admission Steve Mostyn of Texas based firm, Mostyn Law, was late to the game of pelvic mesh litigation.
Late one night several days before Christmas 2015, Steve Mostyn was reviewing some of the ten million pages of documents produced so far in pelvic mesh litigation.
“I came across an email titled ‘Re: Counterfeit material from a supplier you use – ACTION REQUIRED.’ There was an email from another division engineer saying their supplier attempted to sell them counterfeit goods and said ‘God only knows what’s in there.’ I was shocked by this email,” recalls Steve Mostyn. He spent most of the night digging further and the story emerged. Further inquiry showed Boston Scientific had smuggled some grade of polypropylene (PP) out of China with no paperwork, no oversight and certainly with no approval.
What was in this product? God only knows was right.
What Mostyn Law uncovered has ignited a new controversy in this ongoing defective product litigation that threatens Boston Scientific and its $120 million a year pelvic mesh business. Documents showed Boston Scientific allegedly turned to China as a supplier between June 2011 and the fall of 2012 after former supplier, Phillips Sumika refused to sell to Boston Scientific “at any price.”
Fearful its supply would dry up, Boston Scientific allegedly bought enough Chinese resin — 34,000 pounds of unknown quality — to make pelvic mesh implants into the year 2032. The supplier, EMAI Plastics Raw Materials Inc., located in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China was a known supplier of counterfeit products. Not surprisingly, some of the resin was discovered by the firm to contain high levels of selenium, a trace element toxic in high levels. What did this mean for women implanted with mesh made from raw resin allegedly transported loose amid the debris and droppings on the floor of a rail car?
Teresa Stevens, 46, a West Virginia native, was implanted with a Boston Scientific pelvic mesh, the Obtryx-Halo Urethral Sling System made of Marlex in October 2014, to treat incontinence. Soon afterward she began having complications – urinary tract infections, shooting pains in her abdomen and painful sex.
She grew despondent, not unlike many of the 55,000 other women who receive a BSC pelvic mesh every year.
But Teresa Stevens v. Boston Scientific Case no. 2:16-cv-00265, stands out from the 91,000 other defective product cases filed in multidistrict litigation in West Virginia.
In January, Mostyn Law, along with the Bell Law firm of Charleston, WV, filed a federal racketeering class action lawsuit against Boston Scientific – the first RICO lawsuit filed in transvaginal mesh litigation. RICO alleges fraud and the Racketeering Influenced and Corruption Organization statute (RICO), has long been used to target organized crime such as the Hell’s Angels, the Gambino family and even pedophile priests.
Leading a class action of injured women, Stevens, alleges for the class that Boston Scientific engaged in a pattern of unlawful activities including fraud, intentional misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation, violations of WV trade or consumer practices, and unjust enrichment. It seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the women who would have received a Boston Scientific pelvic mesh made since September 2012, the date after which Boston Scientific allegedly defrauded the women by using the fraudulently obtained polypropylene resin to make its mesh.
In the latest turn, on May 5th, in the court overseeing transvaginal mesh medical products cases in California, Judge William F. Highberger denied Boston Science’s motion to bring a halt to future discovery into the Chinese resin issue.
Additional depositions and discovery will be conducted of Boston Scientific’s current and former employees, people in the know.