Ethicon/Gynecare Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Scheduled for Trial in New Jersey

The first pelvic vaginal mesh lawsuits against Ethicon (Gynecare) are set to go before the jury in New Jersey before the end of 2012.

The consolidated Ethicon Gynecare vaginal mesh lawsuits are being overseen by Judge Carol E. Higbee in New Jersey Superior Court.  Judge Higbee has scheduled the first of a number of bellwether trials, or test cases, to begin in November 2012.

According to scheduling order issued by Judge Higbee October 28, preliminary discovery for cases being prepared for early trial dates is to be completed by March 30, and deposition of expert witnesses will be completed by October 5.

More than 350 Ethicon Gynecare transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been centralized under Judge Higbee for pretrial proceedings.  The cases were filed on behalf of women who received Gyencare Prolift mesh, Gynecare Gynemesh, Gynecare Prolene mesh, Gynecare TVT sling or another Ethicon vaginal mesh product.

Vaginal or transvaginal mesh, also known as a bladder sling, is designed to reinforce weakened or damaged tissue on the pelvic floor.  This tissue holds organs such as the bowel, vagina, bladder, uterus, and rectum in place.

All of the vaginal mesh lawsuit complaints are based on claims that Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiary, Ethicon, knew the mesh products were unreasonably unsafe when used for the repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in females, but continued to manufacture and sell these potentially dangerous and defective medical devices.

In the suits, plaintiffs claim that the companies manufactured a product that was defective and failed to adequately warn about the risk of severe, debilitating, and disfiguring vaginal mesh problems.  Defective vaginal mesh can result in:

  • Mesh erosion
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Infections
  • Urinary problems

The point of the bellwether lawsuits in the New Jersey Ethicon Gynecare litigation is to help parties involved guage how juries are likely to respond to evidence that may be presented in other cases.  The outcomes of these trials are not binding in other lawsuits that have been filed, but they are often closely watched by lawyers involved in similar litigation and may impact the future value of any Ethicon Gynecare settlement discussions.

The FDA issued an Ethicon Gynecare vaginal mesh warning this summer, indicating that transvaginal placement of the pelvic mesh for pelvic organ prolapse does not seem to provide any significant benefit over other means of POP treatment, and that vaginal mesh has been linked to hundreds of reports of serious vaginal mesh complications and injuries.

The FDA received more than 1,500 reports of transvaginal mesh problems after pelvic organ prolapse repair surgery between 2008 and 2010.  These reports included incidents of mesh erosion into the vagina, mesh shrinkage or contraction, pelvic pain, infection, urinary problems, vaginal scarring, and other complications.

Ethicon Gynecare vaginal mesh is not the only pelvic mesh product that is the subject of legal scrutiny: similar products manufactured by American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard and others are also at the center of dangerous medical device vaginal mesh lawsuits.

Contact a Vaginal Mesh Lawyer

If you or a woman you love has suffered pain, injury, or disfigurement as a result of being implanted with vaginal mesh made by Ethicon Gynecare or another manufacturer, you may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. For more information, contact our vaginal mesh lawyer team to schedule a free legal consultation.

Nov. 14, 2011 | Tags: Personal Injury, Vaginal Mesh

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