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                                                                                          2012 AUSTIN EDITION

                                                                      CO V E R S TO RY
                                                                      Mark Mueller:
                                                                      Fighting for Victims of
                                                                      Pelvic Mesh Implants
                                                                      See page 27

                                                                                                  Dan Sciano: Advocate
                                                                                                  for the Seriously Injured
                                                                                                  See page 14

                                                                                                  Frank Branson: Winning
                                                                                                  Within the Rules
                                                                                                  See page 23

                                                                                                  Bickel & Brewer:
                                                                                                  Championing Advocacy
                                                                                                  See page 25

Who are Texas’
Lawyers of the Year?                                                                              Dan Cogdell:
                                                                                                  Courtroom Powerhouse
See page 20                                                                                       See page 29

                                                         Special Advertising Section


            Mark Mueller:
          Fighting for Victims
        of Pelvic Mesh Implants

S      pend five minutes talking to attorney Mark Mueller
       about pelvic mesh implants and you get the distinct
       impression that this is a man on a mission. With
some 1,000 lawsuits being handled out of his law offices—a
cluster of historic buildings nestled into a picturesque part of
Austin—and more coming in every day, the sheer number
alone is enough to tell you that he means business. But this
isn’t merely some crusade that Mueller latched onto with the
hopes that he’d get in and out with a few big verdicts under
his belt. No, this is someone who likely won’t be satisfied until

                                                                                                                                              Photo by Sabrina Conlascio
the products—which are to this day highly unregulated—are
forced to undergo rigorous testing by the FDA. Or even better,
they’re pulled off the market altogether.
   Lofty goals to be sure for an attorney who knew nothing
about pelvic mesh, commonly implanted in women to help treat            Mark Mueller
pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, just three
or four years ago. But Mueller knew virtually from the moment           intention into this..” Mueller was appointed to the Plaintiff’s
he heard about the implants and their dangers that it would be          Steering Committee and co-lead of the science and experts
an area he would aggressively pursue—even when correct and              committee for the 4 MDL’s now proceeding before Federal
complete information was not readily available. “When I started         Judge Goodwin of West Virgina who has advised attorneys for
researching this stuff there was very little coherent substantive       both sides that he plans to move quickly and thoroughly and
material written about the range , severity and incidence of            will require civility, good humor, hard work and a problem
adverse health effects from these products ” Mueller says. “ Most       solving attitude from lawyers on both sides.
of what you could find on the internet and in medical articles             With intention is how Mueller approaches every case his
was really slanted toward the industry, paid for by the industry,       firm takes on—and make no mistake, he’s got a full caseload
and often false, misleading and superficial.                            on top of the mesh work. He is a leader in birth injury and
   What he uncovered, of course, was hardly surprising. “As I           medical malpractice cases (Mueller’s work helped prod
started looking into the designs and patents of these products I        the FDA into issuing warnings about the use of vacuum
realized there was a major disconnect between marketing and             extractors during delivery), and is also building momentum
science,” says Mueller. “The two sides of the companies don’t           with whistleblower cases. But the path to where he is
talk all that much.” Even more disturbing? Mueller learned that         today—as one of Texas’ personal injury powerhouses—
the mesh is commonly made out of polypropylene, a polymer               followed anything but a straight line.
plastic that unlike an inert material degrades and changes                 “I knew in law school that I wasn’t going to get hired by one
characteristics over time and causes law term inflammatory              of the big firms and the DA’s office was out of the question,” says
responses in the body. But the icing on the cake for Mueller was        Mueller, who’s known in legal circles for his unique courtroom
that manufacturers admitted to never studying it in humans past         style and offbeat sense of humor (he took a deposition from
60 or 90 days from implantation, that it was made in the same           a medical director of a manufacturer in a mesh case wearing
factories as fishing line and that company executives can’t tell        a Army Navy Surplus jacket under a full length cape and
their mesh from a piece of mosquito net. And the damage that            introduced as co-counsel “Wizard Bear Esq. a teddy bear in
it does to women can be extreme—from making incontinence                purple wizard regalia who Mueller says is both a lawyer and
worse to infections, debilitating pain and sexual dysfunction.          doctor). “So I started out hustling court appointments for
“This product is bad one,” he says. “I have a clients whose mesh        $75 a day.” He paid another lawyer $.50 per call to answer his
attached itself to internal organs or is inbedded in nerve rich         phones, and hired a secretary after he won a few thousand dollars
areas and is almost impossible to remove. The problems it can           wagering on college football games.
cause are unbelievable.”                                                   “I’m a risk taker,” says Mueller. “But I have a solution-based
   Today, Mueller’s namesake firm employs a full-time mesh              agenda, and that’s to make it so people are protected from
intake team to handle the crush of new cases, while his roster          unscrupulous marketers, doctors, or others who don’t have
of attorneys, which includes Dr. Margaret Thompson, and                 their best interests at heart.”
support staff has steadily increased as well. “We’ve dedicated             With that, it’s no wonder that people come from all over to
an entire building to the pelvic mesh practice,” Mueller says.          seek Mueller’s counsel; he’s the type of attorney you know is in it
“It contains an evidence locker, we’ve got samples of the               for the right reasons. “I’ve never claimed to have all the answers,
products, a collection of briefings, pictures of the implants,          and I’m not perfect by any means,” he says. “But I’m guided by
all kinds of stuff. We decided that we needed to put some               the principles of justice and fairness in everything I do.” n
                                                                                          For more information go to | 2 7
                                           Special Advertising Section

                             Mueller law
Photo by Sabrina Conlascio
                                                          Special Advertising Section

Mark Mueller

                                                                                                                                              Photo by Sabrina Conlascio
doesn’t do
anything halfway.                                       Mark Mueller and Wizard Bear

            onsider his pelvic mesh implant practice: in the             helping institute federal recommendations for the use of
            three short years since he took on his first case,           vacuum extractors during delivery. That’s not to mention
            Mueller has dramatically increased his staff, set up         the intellectual property disputes, whistleblower/fraud cases
an office specifically to handle the influx of new clients—              and an array of serious personal injury lawsuits from oil rig
staffed by a full-time intake team—and has dedicated a                   injuries to toxic exposures and burn injuries.
significant portion of his time to learning everything there                If this all seems improbable for a guy who grew up in rural
is to know about the implants, which are implicated in                   Wisconsin and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology
thousands of injuries to women across the country. Current               (and a minor in philosophy), well then, you don’t really know
caseload? It’s quickly approaching the                                                         Mark Mueller. After graduating law school
1,000 mark, and growing every day.         “The reason clients come                            from the University of Houston Law Center
   “Our goal is to affect the way                                                              in 1981, Mueller started his own firm and
the FDA deals with these implants
                                           to us is because we are                             never looked back—and thrives on notion
and how the manufacturers market           guided by the principles of                         that his cases can ultimately contribute to
them,” says Mueller, a 30-year veteran     what’s right and wrong”                             the greater good.
attorney who is known across Texas                                                                “The reason clients come to us is because
for his unconventional—yet highly                                                              we are guided by the principles of what’s
effective—style. “We’ve made a commitment to drive this                  right and wrong,” says Mueller. “More than 200,000 women,
litigation. We want the industry to realize we’re serious, and           for example, get pelvic mesh implants every year, and it’s
we want to minimize the suffering of thousands of women who              virtually unregulated. To the manufacturers, [the women who
have experienced complications from these implants.”                     receive the implants] are nothing but a rich vein of marketing
   The litigation Mueller’s firm is handling is a pretty good            opportunity.” The real kicker, says Mueller, is that one of
start. And it’s well positioned to do so, given the strength             the conditions the mesh is commonly prescribed for—pelvic
of the team he has assembled. One attorney, Dr. Margaret                 organ prolapse—can be a normal part of the aging process in
Thompson, is also an ob-gyn who screens all of the firm’s                which organs in the pelvic cavity begin to shift as a result of
potential and actual mesh cases. But then again, Mueller                 weakening muscles.
Law has historically handled cases centering on women’s                     “This stuff is truly outrageous,” says Mueller. “We don’t
and children’s health—and is considered a pioneer in                     plan on letting up until the manufacturers and marketers are
successfully trying birth injury malpractice cases, as well as           held accountable for what they’re doing.”

                                                             Mueller Law
                                             404 W 7th Street | Austin, Texas | 512.478.1236

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