According to Bloomberg Business, Johnson and Johnson has agreed to pay more than $120 million to resolve 2,000 to 3,000 suits in the transvaginal mesh (TVM) litigation against its Ethicon unit, its first big move to settle. Since 2011, when the the litigation in these cases began, some hundred thousand women have alleged they suffered organ damage and have been left in constant pain when surgical mesh implants designed to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) eroded in their bodies.
Johnson and Johnson faces another 42,400 suits after these settlements, the largest number of suits in the multidistrict litigations (MDLs) against more than a half dozen other manufacturers of TVM products.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, W. Va., who oversees the multidistrict litigation of these mesh cases in federal court, has been pushing manufacturers to consider settling. Last year Boston Scientific agreed to pay $119 million to resolve almost 3,000 cases in its first substantial settlement, and C.R. Bard agreed to pay more than $200 million to resolve at least 3,000 cases, after it had previously settled about 6,400 cases. Both manufacturers still face tens of thousands of lawsuits.
According to Bloomberg Business, there are talks between plaintiffs’ lawyers and other manufacturers of TVM products “seeking a global resolution of sprawling litigation” but so far Johnson and Johnson has refused to participate. Experts speculate that this settlement might encourage other lawyers to consider joining in.
Before reaching the decision to offer to offer compensation, several of the lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson and Ethicon had already gone to trial. Just last month a Philadelphia jury found the company guilty both of negligence in designing the Prolift implant and for failure to warn the plaintiff’s surgeon of the risks of the product. The jury hit J&J and Ethicon with $12.5 million in punitive and compensatory damages. Juries in Texas, New Jersey and California have also found the company liable for injuries related to the inserts.