Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Update

Transvaginal mesh attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are always keeping our clients up-to-date on the latest news in our pending litigation. The most recent news concerns our transvaginal mesh (TVM) cases, which were filed by women injured by the products manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

These TVM cases (concerning the Prolift devices) were consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in West Virginia in 2012. It was recently revealed that Ethicon destroyed documents related to its transvaginal mesh products, including many that could have had significant impact on the MDL’s outcome. Knowing this, plaintiffs requested Ethicon be appropriately punished for its malicious disregard.

The judge, Cheryl Eifert, ordered Ethicon to pay a penalty for acting in bad faith and disadvantaging plaintiffs. The exact amount is yet to be decided. She further recommended that district judges decide whether or not to inform juries of Ethicon’s failure to preserve documents. For example, juries may need to be informed of the destruction if a testifying physician recounts information he received from an Ethicon sales person, whose call records have since been destroyed and therefore cannot be used in court.

Among the documents destroyed include emails and records belonging to more than 20 of Ethicon’s highest executives, including the former worldwide president. These emails could have been used to prove the company knew the TVM products were defective and unreasonably dangerous in women.

In 2012, Ethicon voluntarily recalled its TVM products, including the Gynecare TVT Secur, Prosima, Prolift, and Prolift+M Pelvic Floor Repair Systems. One TVM product was left on market, the Gynecare Gynemesh PS.

These products have caused severe, life-changing injuries in thousands of unsuspecting women throughout the United States. Pelvic mesh devices were originally intended to treat stress urinary (SUI) incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in women. Over time, as reports of severe injury from these products proliferated, the FDA recommended that they be reclassified as Class III devices, which is the highest-risk category for all medical products.

Among the injuries reported by women from TVM products include:

• Chronic vaginal drainage • Failure to adequately treat POP and SUI • Lower back pain • Perforation of the bladder, bowels or blood vessels • Urinary issues • Vaginal bleeding, scarring, infection, and pain • Vaginal tissue erosion
Nine different companies manufacture TVM devices, and all are now facing extensive litigation from the defective, dangerous, and harmful products. In the five years between 2005 and 2010 alone, more than 4,000 women reported injuries to the FDA. This number is significantly less than the actual number of injuries, as neither patients nor physicians are required to report injuries to FDA’s MedWatch program (though reporting is strongly encouraged by patient advocate groups).

The transvaginal mesh attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently reviewing and accepting cases of injury from these defective devices, and we will continue to report on any litigation updates as they arise. If you or someone close to you was implanted with a TVM device, regardless of the manufacturer, and suffered serious side effects, contact our firm immediately. Our team of TVM lawyers is all-female, and provide case reviews free of charge to injured women nationwide. You may be able to win compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. We can help you feel whole again.

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