A Pennsylvania jury recently returned a $20 million verdict against major household product and medical device maker Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit regarding its pelvic mesh products. The lawsuit is part of the ongoing pelvic mesh multi-district litigation (MDL), and it constituted the third bellwether trial to proceed. According to some reports, there are over 54,000 additional lawsuits pending against the company, which is the largest health care product manufacturer in the world.
MDLs are similar to class actions in that they involve grouping claims that assert similar factual allegations and legal claims. They are different from class actions, however, in that each plaintiff must still prove his or her damages. In a class action, the entire class is awarded a collective settlement that is then distributed according to amounts and procedures approved by the court. To gauge the legal soundness of the plaintiffs’ claims, bellwether trials are conducted to gauge the likely level of liability and to assess the likely damages award against the defendant. These trials are crucial indicators of how the remaining cases pending in the MDL may play out.
In the most recent case, the plaintiff alleged that she received a TVT-Secur mesh product during a surgical procedure to address her stress urinary incontinence and that the product began to erode after two months. The plaintiff stated in her complaint that she underwent three surgeries to remove the mesh product and that Johnson & Johnson marketed the product despite its risks and without providing warnings about these risks.
In response to these allegations, Johnson & Johnson argued that the risks associated with the device were nothing beyond a surgeon’s existing understanding of the complications that can arise from pelvic floor surgeries. This is a critical distinction because New Jersey law does not require medical device makers to provide warnings that fall within the common knowledge of physicians. During trial, an internal study from Johnson & Johnson was offered into evidence. The plaintiff offered the study, which allegedly discussed the risk of erosions associated with the product.
Johnson & Johnson has been the subject of numerous multi-million jury verdicts in recent years, many of them stemming from the company’s pelvic mesh products. In February 2016, a jury returned a $13.5 million verdict against the company in a case involving its polypropylene tape used in a hysterectomy procedure. In December 2015, a jury returned a $12.5 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in another pelvic mesh lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as a result of a pelvic mesh or transvaginal mesh product, you may be entitled to compensation. The compassionate, dedicated, and seasoned transvaginal mesh lawyers at Moll Law Group have counseled victims and their families throughout the United States, including in Illinois, New York, California, and Texas. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your legal options and how we may be able to assist you. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to get started.