Johnson & Johnson Accused of Losing or Destroying Vaginal-Mesh Files

Transvaginal mesh is a surgical mesh used to permanently fix pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which are conditions that can occur after a hysterectomy.  The mesh is usually composed of a plastic called polypropylene.  Litigation has arisen due to the large number of woman who developed complications when mesh erosion occurs and causes bleeding, severe pain, infection and nerve damage.  Other injuries include transvaginal mesh organ perforation, which can harm the vaginal wall, as well as other organs such as the bladder.  Many cases cause such serious damage, they require surgery to correct.

Lawsuits have brought very large verdicts, including a state court award of over $11 million in damages for a Prolift insert which caused her chronic pain in New Jersey.  A California case brought a $5.5 million verdict, of which C.R. Bard Inc. was responsible of $3.6 million.

The most recent development in litigation, however, was the allegation that Johnson & Johnson officials destroyed or misplaced hundreds of thousands of documents related to the lawsuits over a decade, even though they were ordered to preserve the documents.  The allegation comes as a result of a lawsuit filing in West Virginia on December 2nd.  Plaintiff’s attorneys used the allegation to request that the defendants be barred from relying on defenses which may have been disproven by the documents.

This development comes as Johnson & Johnson prepares for its first federal trial over its line of vaginal-mesh inserts in West Virginia.    Johnson & Johnson denied the documents which “may have inadvertently not been maintained” caused any damage to the Plaintiff’s case.  Johnson & Johnson officials decided to stop selling some lines of vaginal-mesh implants after being hit by a wave of lawsuits.  Defendants in the lawsuits include Johnson & Johnson, Bard, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp.

More than 30,000 vaginal-mesh cases have been consolidated before U.S. District judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, who is scheduled to preside over bellwether federal cases.  If you or a loved one has experienced medical issues after implant of vaginal mesh, contact an attorney experienced in these types of cases to evaluate your claim.