A Mississippi woman alleges, in a recently filed lawsuit, that she suffered injuries caused by Ethicon Inc.’s transvaginal mesh device. The woman alleges the injuries are a result of Ethicon’s Prolift and TVT sling and that these products are defective.
According to this complaint, the woman was implanted with the Prolift and TVT sling on November 20, 2008. The lawsuit alleges that the device makers knew about the risks associated with Ethicon’s Proflift and TVT sling and failed to warn the woman, her doctor, and other consumers. She is suing for negligence on three counts of strict liability (design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn), breach of express and implied warranty, fraudulent concealment, and punitive damages.
A Joint Status Conference is scheduled for May 23rd concerning the thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The lawsuits have been combined into five multidistrict litigations (MDLs), entitled:
- In Re: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2325
- In Re: Boston Scientific Corp., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2326
- In Re: C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2187
- In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2327.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the most common complications associated with transvaginal mesh used in pelvic organ prolapse (POP) may include:
- Mesh erosion through the vagina (exposure, extrusion, or protrusion)
- Pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Organ perforation
- Urinary problems
The FDA has also said that complications linked to transvaginal mesh implants are “not rare” and warned that use of such devices may actually be more harmful compared to alternative methods for treating POP. The FDA has also asked 33 vaginal mesh device makers, including Johnson & Johnson, to conduct post-market safety studies to investigate the effect of vaginal mesh on organ damage and other health concerns.
Recently, the first transvaginal mesh lawsuit to go to trial led to an $11.1 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff and was the first of 4,000 Gynecare Prolift cases expected to go to trial. Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages, according to a prior Bloomberg News report.
The national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, filed the case on behalf of the Mississippi woman on April 30, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Charleston Division (Case No. 2:13-cv-09646). This lawsuit is one of many cases pending in the MDL entitled In Re: Ethicon Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2327. Ethicon Inc., Ethicon LLC and Johnson & Johnson are named as defendants.