Injured women who have alleged product liability vaginal mesh lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon, have also filed a motion for sanctions. This motion claims that the manufacturer has destroyed a massive amount of data that was relevant to the litigation. Allegedly Ethicon destroyed or lost hundreds of thousands of important documents that should have been preserved.
Thousands of Ethicon Vaginal Mesh Claims
Johnson & Johnson is exposed to more than 11,000 Ethicon Gynecare mesh lawsuits in the federal court system, which have been centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia.
Transvaginal mesh was used for surgical treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and female stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The women allege that significant design defects led the mesh to erode through the vagina, causing painful injuries and incontinence.
Hundreds of Thousands Crucial Documents Destroyed
The women claim that the documents of more than a dozen corporate executives and marketing personnel were destroyed or simply not saved as required by court order.
Ethicon denied the charges, saying that it had been diligent in saving the key documents, but the company also admitted that some of its employees had not followed its document preservation protocols.
Ethicon Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Updates
Ethicon is one of six manufacturers that face liability lawsuits, with thousands of claims against C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, Coloplast Corp. and Cook Medical. The most of the vaginal mesh litigation has been centralized for pretrial proceedings before Judge Goodwin, this consolidation known as Multidistrict Litigation or MDL.
According to the latest U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation case list released in January, Judge Goodwin is presiding over 11,400 AMS mesh lawsuits, 11,667 cases involving Ethicon mesh, 7,377 Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, 5,516 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, 1,106 Coloplast mesh lawsuits and 150 Cook Medical mesh lawsuits.
Thousands of cases are filed in various state court systems, with 4,549 Ethicon Gynecare and 915 Bard mesh lawsuits in New Jersey, where the cases have also been centralized for coordinated handling before one state court judge.
In each of the coordinated proceedings involving different manufacturers, a small group of cases are currently being prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” cases.
Plaintiff Mesh Verdicts
Four vaginal mesh cases have already reached trial, in July 2012, a California state court jury awarded $5.5 million in damages against C.R. Bard and a New Jersey state court jury awarded $11.1 million in damages against Ethicon in March 2013.
In July 2013, a federal jury awarded $2 million in damages against Bard, including punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer for their defective design and sale of vaginal mesh products. A second Bard case settled during the first day of trial for an undisclosed sum.
An Ethicon mesh trial is scheduled to begin on February 10. That trial involves Carolyn Lewis, who has alleged severe injury problems with a Gynecare TVT sling.