Johnson & Johnson, a manufacturer of Ethicon brand transvaginal mesh products, has agreed to pay $120 million to settle the first 2,000 to 3,000 lawsuits filed against it alleging that the products caused the plaintiffs severe injuries and damages. This is the first time that Johnson & Johnson has entered into a settlement encompassing a substantial number of cases regarding the Ethicon product. In the past, it has settled a few cases on a one-at-a-time basis. Until now, the manufacturer has mostly declined opportunities to negotiate with plaintiffs and their counsel as well as the numerous other device manufacturers involved in transvaginal mesh disputes.
Transvaginal mesh products are designed to treat a number of conditions, including pelvic organ prolapse. The plaintiffs’ claims largely contend, however, that the products resulted in severe organ damage, constant pain, and other devastating injuries. In some cases, the transvaginal mesh device shrank after being implanted, resulting in severe pain and injuries. In June 2012, Johnson & Johnson agreed to remove some of its product lines from the market.
Beginning around 2011, women and their spouses began bringing a number of claims against Johnson & Johnson, including product liability, failure to warn, negligent manufacturing, loss of consortium, and others. Then, in 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Johnson & Johnson and other transvaginal mesh makers to conduct studies about the rate at which organ damage and other complications resulted from the implantation of the transvaginal mesh devices.
A few of these cases went to trial across the country, including in Texas, California, and New Jersey, and they resulted in the juries finding both Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon at fault for the plaintiffs’ injuries. In December 2015, a jury returned a verdict awarding a plaintiff $12.5 million in damages to compensate her for injuries to her bladder that resulted from an Ethicon transvaginal mesh device. Despite these wins, Johnson & Johnson has won a number of cases, including a 2014 action filed in West Virginia.
A medical device action is a type of product liability case, which requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant’s product was unreasonably dangerous due to the way it was designed, or that the specific unit that the plaintiff received was unreasonably dangerous due to a manufacturing defect that occurred while the device was being made. The plaintiff can also show that the device was unreasonably dangerous due to a lack of adequate warnings or instructions.
Compared to other transvaginal mesh manufacturers, it is believed that Johnson & Johnson faces the largest number of cases. Even after the settlement, there are still well over 40,000 lawsuits seeking damages from Johnson & Johnson over its transvaginal mesh devices. At this time, it is not clear how this settlement may affect the remaining cases.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries after receiving a transvaginal mesh device or another medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, our dedicated team of product liability lawyers know what you are going through. We proudly represent clients throughout the U.S., including in New York, Florida, and Texas. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your free consultation now.