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.
Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and medical device litigation. You can also contact us online to tell us your story.
Published on May 2, 2017
A Pennsylvania state court jury in Philadelphia concluded that Johnson & Johnson’s TVT-Secur mesh, designed to treat incontinence in women, was defectively designed and caused Margaret “Peggy” Engleman’s injuries. The jury awarded her $2.5 million in compensatory damages for pain, suffering and economic loss and then punished J&J and its Ethicon unit with $17.5 million in punitive damages.
Ms. Engleman received the TVT-Secur transvaginal mesh implant in 2007 to treat her stress urinary incontinence (SUI). SUI is a common medical issue, especially in women who have given birth; the mesh is supposed to support the urethra and prevent leaks. However, within one month of receiving the TVT-Secur implant, it failed, and Ms. Engleman began experience urinary incontinence again. Within a few months the mesh began to erode inside her body, causing her to experience severe pain. Despite undergoing three separate surgeries under general anesthesia to remove the eroded mesh, her doctors have been unable to remove it all, and she still experiences pain and urinary dysfunction to this day.
“I’m happy I could be a voice for other women,” Engleman said in a statement released after the verdict. “It’s been a nightmare, and I feel justice was truly served today.”
This is the third eight figure award against Johnson & Johnson in a pelvic mesh trial in Philadelphia. A Toms River, New Jersey woman was awarded a $13.5 million mesh verdict in 2016, and an Indiana woman was awarded $12.5 million in 2015.
If you believe you have a vaginal mesh lawsuit, Thornton Law Firm’s pelvic mesh team represents women in claims against the major mesh manufacturers including Boston Scientific, Caldera, Coloplast, Cook Medical, C.R. Bard, Inc., Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson, Mentor Worldwide, and Sofradim/Covidien. If you have suffered side effects from your mesh implant, including but not limited to bleeding, mesh erosion, constant pain, mesh contraction, urinary problems, additional surgeries, infection, vaginal tightening, painful sexual intercourse, inability to engage in sexual intercourse, or organ perforation, you may have a claim for damages. Please call attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at our toll-free number 888-341-1405, or tell us your story using our online contact form for a no-cost, completely confidential evaluation of your legal rights. The time limits for filing all legal claims are short. Do not delay seeking legal advice.
Posted on June 19, 2013
Last week the West Virginia court overseeing the vaginal mesh litigation involving Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit issued a pair of new pre-trial orders. The first rescheduled the presentation of possible bellwether cases to the court by one week, to July 25, 2013. The court will review the cases presented and decide which cases will be the first to go to trial, and in what order they will be tried. None of the other dates in the court’s pre-trial order were changed, so the first trial is still scheduled to be held on January 14, 2014 in front of Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.
The second new pre-trial order adopts a stipulation agreed to by both sides regarding documents produced in response to subpoenas to third parties. It gives Johnson & Johnson & Ethicon 30 days to review the documents and designate any portions as confidential or proprietary information. The plaintiffs will have copies of all the documents from the beginning including the 30 day period of confidentiality review. We believe this is a fair agreement and it will speed up the acquisition of the documents we believe will strengthen the plaintiffs’ cases.
Thornton Law Firm mesh lawyers continue to investigate transvaginal mesh claims against J&J and Ethicon, as well as against the other vaginal mesh manufacturers American Medical Systems, Inc., C.R. Bard, Inc., and Boston Scientific Corp. We offer free consultations. If you are one of the thousands of women who received painfully defective mesh implants, tell us your story here, or call us at 888-341-1405 to discuss your legal rights. Time limits for filing a claim are short so do not delay.