In the U.S. and around the world, thousands of women have been harmed by transvaginal mesh implants, with many requiring multiple surgeries to have the mesh removed. Vaginal mesh was widely used in pelvic surgeries despite a lack of long term data concerning its safety, and around 10% of patients have experienced complications, often severe. The debilitating pain and potentially permanent side effects, in addition to financial concerns and emotional difficulties, have left many patients seeking justice.
Countless lawsuits have been filed against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for manufacturing and distributing these devices, with some ending in multi-million dollar settlements. Of those that have progressed to trial verdicts, juries have frequently found in favor of plaintiffs and awarded compensation for pain and suffering. Many such verdicts have been contested by the pharmaceutical companies in question, with some decisions later reversed in higher courts. As of May 2017, thousands of cases are still pending.
Filing a Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit
If you or someone you care about has experienced complications as a result of transvaginal mesh, you may be entitled to file a claim.
Plaintiffs have claimed that pharmaceutical companies responsible for manufacturing mesh devices failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks and potential side effects. Many argue these companies deliberately misrepresented the safety of vaginal mesh in order to continue selling their products.
Both women and their spouses have sought compensation for the negative impact the mesh has had on their lives, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (loss of marital relations, as a result of dyspareunia)
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Lower quality of life
The statute of limitations for filing a transvaginal mesh lawsuit varies significantly between states. Plaintiffs have 1-10 years from the time they become aware of their injuries to file a claim, depending on where you live. That’s why it’s important to speak to a lawyer specializing in vaginal mesh cases to understand your rights and find out what’s best for you and your family.
Lawsuits Against Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson)
Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has been the subject of thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits, with many women naming its Gynecare TVT Abbrevo product as responsible for their injuries. Despite the multitude of lawsuits concerning Abbrevo, this product continues to be sold. Other transvaginal mesh recalls have since been issued by Ethicon, although the manufacturer has not admitted that safety concerns were behind this decision.
Due to the volume of lawsuits against Ethicon, these cases have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation overseen by U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Collectively, they are known as MDL No. 2327. Approximately 40,000 cases in this MDL are still pending. Ethicon has set aside an undisclosed amount of money to cover their litigation expenses, as well as settlements and court decisions.
Below is a summary of some of the key verdicts, and reversals concerning Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh products:
Gross v. Ethicon
In February 2013, a jury awarded $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a South Dakota couple. Linda Gross required 18 surgeries (including nine to remove the mesh) after Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift device caused her to experience chronic pain. In March 2015, this verdict was affirmed in the Appellate Division. Ethicon petitioned for this affirmation to be reviewed, but their request was denied by the New Jersey Supreme Court in December 2015.
Batiste v. McNabb
In April 2014, a jury in Texas awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages after finding that Ethicon’s TVT-O vaginal mesh had a dangerous design defect. But this verdict was later reversed and the plaintiff’s award stripped when a Texas appellate court concluded in November 2015 that there was not sufficient evidence to prove a design defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Huskey v. Ethicon
In September 2014, $3.27 million was awarded to a woman injured by Ethicon’s TVT-O vaginal mesh. The West Virginia federal jury concluded Ethicon’s device was faulty, and sufficient warnings about the risks of the mesh had not been provided.
Bellew v. Ethicon
In March 2015, Ethicon settled a case relating to its Gynecare Prolift mesh device on the fifth day of the trial. Ethicon has not disclosed details of the settlement.
Cavness v. Kowalczyk et al
In October 2015, a Texas jury ruled in favor of Ethicon in the first of many lawsuits blaming its Gynecare Prosima device for pain and suffering. The jury decided a design defect was not to blame for the plaintiff’s pain–despite the product having being pulled from the market by its manufacturer.
Engleman v. Ethicon
In April 2017, a Philadelphia jury awarded a New Jersey woman $2.5 million in damages. They also hit Ethicon with punitive damages of $17.5 million. The plaintiff experienced severe pain after being fitted with Gynecare TVT-Secur mesh for incontinence, and required multiple surgeries to have it removed.
In its first large transvaginal mesh settlement, Ethicon paid $120 million dollars in January 2016 to resolve as many as 3,000 cases. Judge Goodwin has allegedly advised Ethicon to settle more cases in MDL No. 2317.
More Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits
Ethicon is not the only producer of transvaginal mesh facing a multitude of lawsuits related to their products. Boston Scientific and C. R. Bard are amongst the other manufacturers hit hard by mesh litigation, facing around 30,000 and 12,000 cases, respectively. Boston Scientific’s first major transvaginal mesh settlement totaled $119 million, while C. R. Bard has paid more than $200 million in settlements already.
These cases are not limited to the U.S. alone. A civil case brought by 450 Australian women against Johnson & Johnson will begin in July 2017. In addition to these cases, Johnson & Johnson also faces legal battles surrounding baby powder, as well as lawsuits over Xarelto. A further 300 women have filed a class action lawsuit against American Medical Systems. In the United Kingdom, manufacturers of transvaginal mesh and the National Health Service are being sued by more than 800 women. Thousands more class action and civil lawsuits are in progress or are expected to be filed around the world, with the global cost of transvaginal mesh legal action already reaching billions of dollars.