J&J Ordered to Pay $344 Million for Deceptively Marketing Pelvic Mesh

The Johnson and Johnson subsidiary Ethicon has been ordered to pay $343.99 million dollars for deceptively marketing vaginal mesh products in the state of California. San Diego County Superior Court judge Eddie Sturgeon ruled that the deceptive marketing was intended to deceive doctors and tens of thousands patients about the risks and dangers of the vaginal mesh products.

California’s suit charged Johnson & Johnson with violating the state’s false advertising and unfair competition laws. The California Attorney General asked for a fine of $800 million. In the lawsuit, the California Justice Department said that its years-long-investigation had shown that Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit failed to inform patients and doctors of the possible severe complications and risks of using the mesh products, and misrepresented the severity and frequency of those risks. The trial last two months; Judge Sturgeon’s 88 page verdict was issued four months later.

The court found that Johnson & Johnson had deceptively marketed two products: Tension-free Vaginal Tape, or TVT, which was first sold in 1998 to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI), and the Prolift, sold beginning in 2005 to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP). These meshes were implanted in women via incisions in the vagina, and after implantation the mesh often eroded, causing a host of problems including pain, infection, vaginal bleeding or discharge, urinary problems, severe pelvic or groin pain, pain during intercourse, and even organ perforation from mesh eroding into surrounding tissue.

Ethicon discontinued four mesh products for vaginal use in 2012. Ethicon did not recall vaginal mesh products that were already sold or implanted, and some of their mesh products were relabeled for abdominal implantation only. The FDA banned all vaginal mesh products in 2019.

California is the first state to go to trial alleging deceptive marketing of vaginal mesh implants by J&J’s Ethicon. Other states with pending litigation against Ethicon are Kentucky, Mississippi, Oregon, and West Virginia. Forty-two other states had already settled their claims against Ethicon for a total of $117 million dollars, and the state of Washington settled for $9.9 million.

Johnson & Johnson sold more than 470,000 pelvic mesh products nationally between 2008 and 2004. More than 30,000 were sold in California. Around the world, more than 2 million women have had these vaginal mesh implants. In the United States, more than 35,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson for defective vaginal mesh damages and injuries.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued this statement on the verdict: “Johnson & Johnson intentionally concealed the risks of its pelvic mesh implant devices. It robbed women and their doctors of their ability to make informed decisions about whether to permanently implant the products in patients’ bodies,” he said. “Today we achieved justice for the women and families forever scarred by Johnson & Johnson’s dishonesty.”

Ethicon and Johnson and Johnson have announced plans to appeal.

The case is California v. Johnson & Johnson et al., case number 37-2016-00017229-CU-MC-CTL, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego.

If you have implanted mesh for any medical reason and are having any symptoms connected with the implant you should contact your doctor immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention if you have any symptoms you believe are related to your mesh implant.

To discuss your legal options regarding your mesh implant, call the vaginal mesh lawyers at Thornton Law Firm at 888-491-9726 to talk with Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick. You can also tell us your story online for a confidential, free evaluation of your claim. All legal claims have strict time limits for filing so call now if you believe you have a case.

$37M Verdict in NJ Talc Mesothelioma Trial

Johnson & Johnson logo

A Middlesex County New Jersey jury awarded four sets of plaintiffs $37 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson for mesothelioma caused by talc baby powder. The consolidated trial lasted almost three months, and at the end, the judge struck the Johnson & Johnson attorney’s entire closing argument, ruling that the attorney had made improper comments on the evidence.

The jury’s unanimous verdict was that all of the plaintiffs had been exposed to asbestos by using Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower talcum powders contaminated with asbestos. The jury also unanimously ruled that J&J failed to warn the plaintiffs about the dangers of its talcum body powders. In a 5-1 vote, the jury ruled that those actions caused the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

The award is for compensatory damages only. Punitive damages may be awarded in a separate phase of the trial. Plaintiffs Douglas Barden and his wife, Roslyn Barden were awarded $7.25 million; David Etheridge and his wife, Darlene Etheridge were awarded $9.45 million; D’Angela McNeill was awarded $14.7 million; and William Ronning and his wife, Elizabeth Ronning. were awarded $5.9 million.

Johnson & Johnson had previously asked for a mistrial based on the trial judge striking its counsel’s closing argument from the record; after the verdict was announced, Johnson & Johnson said they intend to appeal the decision. Johnson & Johnson faces over 10,000 talc-related cancer claims in both federal and state courts. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice subpoenaed Johnson & Johnson in February for documents on talc powder safety. This followed a Reuters report published in December of 2018 entitled “Special Report: J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder”.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer – either mesothelioma or ovarian cancer – after using talcum powder (including Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower Powder, baby powder, Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet, or Avon’s body powder products), you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s female mesothelioma attorneys,  Leah McMorris or Leslie-Anne Taylor for a free, no obligation evaluation of your legal claim at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here. Seek legal advice immediately if you believe you may have a claim. Like all lawsuits, baby powder lawsuits must be filed within strict time limits.

Contact Us