Hernia Mesh Lawsuit News and Updates

The latest news and updates regarding hernia mesh devices, lawsuits and settlements.

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Judge Issues amended case management order in ethicon physiomesh mdl

February 8, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

With the deadline for both sides to submit cases for expert discovery fast approaching, the total number of individual plaintiffs in a Multi District Litigation (MDL) over Ethicon PHYSIOMESH implants has grown to nearly 1,800, court documents reveal. Additionally, according to an amended discovery order issued January 17, the court also has set the date of the first bellwether trial for February 3, 2020.

Practice and Procedure Order No. 15, signed by District Judge Richard W. Story on January 17, 2019, reaffirms and amends slightly a previous proposed discovery, scheduling, and case management order. According to the order, the parties have until April 15 to select five cases each on which expert discovery will proceed, with all expert discovery scheduled to be completed by October 14, paving the way for the first bellwether trials to begin.

Although the Ethicon PHYSIOMESH MDL continues to proceed apace, the first trial still remains roughly a year away, with the order stating that the “Court will set the first trial for February 3, 2020.”

This all takes place as the number of total cases in the MDL continues to grow. According to the Member Case List updated February 4, 2019, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia listed 1,794 total cases involving individuals suing over harms allegedly caused by Ethicon PHYSIOMESH.

In the MDL’s Master Long Form Complaint , plaintiffs allege a number of design and manufacturing defects with Ethicon PHYSIOMESH Flexible Composite Mesh implants, including that the device’s “multi-layer coating provides a breeding ground for bacteria in which the bacteria cannot be eliminated by the body’s immune response, which allows infection to proliferate.”

Additionally, the complaint claims that defendants Ethicon and its parent company Johnson & Johnson “knew or should have known of the lack of bioincompatibility of the multi-layer coating of the Physiomesh prior to introducing it into the stream of commerce,” ultimately arguing that the “manufacturing and design defects associated with the Physiomesh were directly and proximately related to the injuries related to plaintiffs.

Practice and Procedure Order No. 15 (Amended Proposed Discovery, Scheduling and Case Management Order – Initial Discovery Pool). MDL Docket No. 2782. 17 January 2019
Member Case List for 1:17-md-2782. In Re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation. MDL Docket No. 2782. 4 February 2019
Master Long Form Complaint. In Re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation. MDL Docket No. 2782. 6 September 2017

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Judge Says W. VA Pelvic Mesh MDLs “Virtually Unprecedented in Size”, Have Yielded $7.25 Billion in Awards

February 7, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

In a rare court order involving more than half-a-dozen different multidistrict litigations (MDLs) presently taking place in the Southern District of West Virginia, a district judge offered insight into the massive scale of the ongoing MDLs, including that the total number of plaintiffs number in the six figures and that the cumulative awards to date top $7 billion.

The order, entered January 30, calls for common benefit attorneys to receive 5% percent of all settlements and judgements associated with seven hernia-mesh-related multidistrict litigations (MDLs) presently taking place in the Charleston Division of the Southern District of West Virginia. Among the MDLs covered by the order are ongoing products liability litigation over pelvic repair systems manufactured by Ethicon, Inc. and CR Bard, Inc.

With different MDLs typically proceeding more or less independently of one another, the order impacting multiple MDLs provides unique insight into the massive scale of surgical mesh litigation presently facing the Southern District of West Virginia. According to Pretrial Order #327, signed by District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, the seven pelvic-mesh-related MDLs represent “one of the largest multidistrict litigation proceedings in this country’s history” with “over 104,000 individual plaintiffs suing numerous defendants who manufactured many different pelvic mesh products.”

According to the court, over the course of these seven pelvic mesh MDLs, although many cases remain open, “[t]ens of thousands of cases have been resolved, for a total sum to date of $7.25 billion.”

The massive scope of the litigation, in terms both of the number of plaintiffs involved and the number of surgical mesh products implicated, demonstrates that the alleged dangers associated with hernia mesh devices are not limited to a single design or manufacturer. What began with 36 plaintiffs suing over a single hernia mesh device has since ballooned into what the court says is litigation “virtually unprecedented in size and scope.”

According to the Common Benefit Fee and Cost Committee (FCC), which petitioned the court for the 5% award, to date, common benefit counsel have worked approximately 900,000 hours over the nine-plus years of ongoing litigation, of which nearly 700,000 hours qualified as being for the common benefit.

Pretrial Order #327. In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation. MDL No. 2327. 30 January 2019

Bard Mesh Lawsuit Update: Davol and Bard Must Hand Over Communications with Foreign Regulators, Court in Mesh MDL Rules

February 5, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc. must turn over to plaintiffs official communications with six foreign regulators regarding the safety and labeling of the companies’ polypropylene hernia mesh products, the judge and magistrate judge overseeing multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the devices ruled in an Opinion and Order issued January 28.

The ruling, signed by Chief District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. and Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Jolson of the Eastern Division of the Southern District of Ohio, granted in part and denied in part a motion previously filed by plaintiffs, who requested “that the Court compel Defendants to produce foreign regulatory materials relating to polypropylene surgical mesh” as part of the pretrial discovery process. According to the opinion, plaintiffs later narrowed the request to include only communications pertaining to safety and labeling.

While the Order and Opinion broadly grants the plaintiffs’ request for communications with the foreign regulatory bodies, the court sought to address the defendant companies’ proportionality concerns by limiting the scope to the polypropylene hernia mesh products named in the Master Long Form Complaint and by instructing the parties to meet and confer regarding the applicable time period, an important issue the order does not resolve but which must be settled before Davol and Bard actually produce any of the documents in question.

The foreign regulatory bodies covered by the Opinion and Order include the Scientific Committees of the European Commission; the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), including Health Facilities Scotland (HFS) and the United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS); Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM); Health Canada; Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA); and Japan’s Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Agency (PMDA).

Defendants Davol and Bard had argued that the production of its communications with these foreign regulatory bodies was unwarranted because they were irrelevant to the issues at hand and because such production would prove overly burdensome to the defendants and their subsidiaries. While the Order and Opinion shows that the court largely disagreed with the defendants’ arguments, the defendants did succeed in having the production request narrowed to include only products named in the Master Long Form Complaint and in obtaining a further opportunity to confer with plaintiffs over the relevant time period.

Opinion and Order. In Re: Davol, Inc. / C.R. Bard, Inc., Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation. No. 2:18-md-2846. US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division. 28 January 2019

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Johnson & Johnson considers ethicon physiomesh cases among 'most significant,' disclosure says

November 2, 2018

Johnson & Johnson considers lawsuits over surgical mesh manufactured by its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. to be among the “most significant” product liability cases facing the conglomerate, according to a recent filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Johnson & Johnson reported that as of September 30, it faced approximately 37,400 lawsuits over pelvic mesh in the United States alone.  

Despite the massive number of hernia mesh lawsuits remaining, Johnson & Johnson claims that it “has settled or otherwise resolved a majority of the United States cases.” The pelvic-mesh devices, used in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, also have been the subject of patient-filed lawsuits in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium, with class-action suits ongoing in Israel, Canada, and Australia. (Johnson & Johnson says it expects a decision in the Australia class-action case sometime this year.) 

Johnson & Johnson separately reports 1,500 active lawsuits over Ethicon’s PhysioMesh Flexible Composite Mesh, which is used in hernia-repair surgery. According to J&J’s quarterly report, federal Ethicon PhysioMesh cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Georgia, and a number of New Jersey state-court suits have been centralized in multicounty litigation (MCL) in that state. 

“Following a June 2016 worldwide market withdrawal of ETHICON PHYSIOMESH Flexible Composite Mesh, claims for personal injury have been made against Ethicon, Inc.,” Johnson & Johnson’s disclosure states. “Product liability lawsuits continue to be filed, and the Company continues to receive information with respect to potential costs and the anticipated number of cases.” 

“The Company has established accruals with respect to product liability litigation associated with ETHICON PHYSIOMESH Flexible Composite Mesh,” the PhysioMesh disclosure concludes, meaning that, from an accounting standpoint, Johnson & Johnson already has set money aside to pay out over Ethicon PhysioMesh claims. 

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury following implantation of a surgical-mesh device, contact the experienced team of lawyers at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney!

Product Liability. 
Legal Proceedings. Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure. 
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form 10-Q. 
September 30, 2018. Filed October 31, 2018. 

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Judge denies covidien attempt to toss mesh lawsuit over time limit

October 31, 2018

A federal judge on October 25 rejected an attempt by medical-device maker Covidien LP to have a surgical mesh lawsuits dismissed outright for having been filed after the statutory time limit expired, instead granting the plaintiffs time to amend their complaint and argue why their claims should be permitted to proceed. 

Federal District Court Judge Yvette Kane allowed plaintiffs Ronald Soutner and his wife, Janelle, an opportunity to file an amended complaint in which the couple could provide more information to assist the court in its determination as to when the statutory clock began counting on the couple’s claims. 

The Soutners sued Covidien after Ronald suffered severe complications from the implantation of Covidien Parietex ProGrip mesh in conjunction with hernia-repair surgery he underwent in late 2011. According to the Soutners’ complaint, which includes a total of ten legal claims, the Covidien mesh caused inflammation so severe that the mesh and portions of the surrounding tissue, including the vas deferens, had to be surgically removed about two years later. The Soutners originally sued in October 2017. 

“In light of the nature of the parties’ dispute, the court believes it appropriate to allow plaintiffs to file a second amended complaint including additional facts that would be useful to a determination of when the applicable limitations period began, and whether the plaintiffs exercised reasonable diligence,” Judge Kane’s order read, according to Law360. 

Lawyers for Covidien had argued that the statutory countdown on the Soutners’ claims began with Ronald’s second surgery in 2013 and that the couple missed this window when they waited until fall 2017 to sue. The Soutners now will have the chance to argue why they could not reasonably have known that Ronald’s injuries were the result of Covidien’s conduct at that time. 

“[At the time of Ronald’s second surgery, the Soutners] could not have discovered through due diligence that their injuries were caused by another party’s conduct,” Judge Kane wrote, stating the Soutners’ position. 

The Soutners’ case reiterates once again the importance of seeking expert legal advice right away if you or a loved one ever suffers harm as a result of a medical device or prescription drug. Big Pharma and billion-dollar device makers have lobbied hard for laws that allow injured patients only a short period of time to file their legal claims. Don’t delay! Contact the experienced lawyers at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney!


Mesh Lawsuit Update: Johnson & Johnson Appeals $20 Million Mesh Verdict

October 23, 2018

A little more than a decade ago, New Jersey resident Peggy Engleman, like millions of Americans, was suffering from stress urinary incontinence, a common condition that particularly afflicts women who have been pregnant and given childbirth. In the hopes of relieving her symptoms, in June 2007, Peggy Engleman underwent surgery during which she had TVT-Secur mesh manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon implanted into her pelvic region.

Unfortunately, rather than relieving her symptoms and allowing Ms. Engleman to return to her normal lifestyle, the TVT-Secur mesh began causing complications only a month later, when it was discovered that a portion of the mesh had become exposed in Ms. Engleman’s vagina, causing her a great deal of pain and discomfort. Ms. Engleman underwent subsequent operations in September 2007, February 2008, and December 2013 in an effort to address the chronic pain. Although portions of the original Ethicon TVT-Secur mesh were removed with each subsequent surgery, doctors still found pieces that had eroded into her vagina during the December 2013 operation, Ms. Engleman’s fourth surgery involving the mesh implant.

In April 2014, Ms. Engleman saw a television ad for a law firm taking on surgical mesh claims just like hers. She sued, and, following a three-week trial in April 2018, a Pennsylvania jury delivered a verdict in her favor, ordering Ethicon to pay $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $17.5 million in punitive damages.

Now, however, Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon are seeking to have that verdict dismissed, arguing before a three-judge appellate panel on October 17 that Ms. Engleman’s claims should be tossed out because she did not file her suit until after the two-year statute of limitations had expired. The appeal revives what was a major issue at trial: When should the two-year countdown begin?

Before the appellate panel, attorneys for the defendant companies continued to argue, as the jury explicitly rejected at trial, that the two-year period should begin in 2007 when Ms. Engleman first became aware of the issues with her Ethicon mesh implant.

At least one of the judges sitting on the panel appeared to express skepticism over such an argument, with Judge Alice Beck Debow saying to an attorney for the defense, “Everything you’re telling us now, the jury heard that and they found there was no statute of limitations violation,” according to Law360.

Ms. Engleman’s case is part of a pelvic mesh mass tort program taking place in Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia County. At the time of the April 2018 verdict, Law360 reported that 183 other cases remained pending as part of the program.

Ms. Engleman was the third plaintiff in the Philadelphia mass tort program to prevail on similar claims against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon. In 2015, a jury awarded a woman from Indiana $12.5 million, and, in 2016, a New Jersey woman received $13.5 million. (In September 2018, the judge overseeing a subsequent case announced that the jury had deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial. Though the jurors were able to agree that Ethicon had been negligent in designing the mesh implant, they were unable to reach a consensus as to whether that negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries.)

This case shows once again how important it is to file your legal claim as early as possible! If you or a loved one has been injured by a problematic mesh implant or other defective medical device, contact the experienced attorneys at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney!

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Australian Health Minister Issues National Apology over Mesh Implants

October 23, 2018

“On behalf of the Australian Government, I say sorry to all of those women with the historic agony and pain that has come from mesh implantations, which have led to horrific outcomes,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a videotaped national apology released October 10 “This has been an issue over some decades in many cases, and on our time, on our watch, that [sic.] we both recognize the problem, and we’re moving to take sweeping action to repair it.”

The apology came nearly a year after Australia, in November 2017, banned transvaginal mesh products used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and over six months after the conclusion of a parliamentary report looking into the devices. The statement by the Health Minister accompanied the release by the Australian government of its policy response to the parliamentary report, which includes measures such as permanent funding through Australian Medicare for the removal and treatment of pelvic mesh implants. The government also says it will work with states and territories to conduct a national audit of mesh implants and to create voluntary registries of mesh implant recipients that would track complications and other data.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Health Minister Hunt has stated his support for requiring healthcare professionals to report all side effects for all implantable medical devices, though he says making such reporting mandatory would exceed the legal powers of the federal government.

Senator Derryn Hinch, representing Victoria as a member of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, was one of the main proponents of the parliamentary investigation into transvaginal mesh implants. He has dubbed the circumstances surrounding the mesh implants “one of the biggest medical scandals” in his country’s history.

Many Australian women, some of whom participated in the parliamentary investigation, say they were not taken seriously by their healthcare providers when they reported feeling intense pain and other symptoms following implantation of a transvaginal mesh device.

“Women are still not being believed by their doctors,” Australian mother Joanne Villani told ABC News, who said she still experiences chronic symptoms from her mesh implant over a decade after the initial surgery. “Doctors are still implanting mesh and telling women it’s new mesh, and it is the same mesh…I would like mesh to be banned until it’s been shown to be safe. If it’s not shown to be safe, then it should never be used again.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from complications due to the implantation of a surgical mesh device, contact the experienced lawyers at TheLawFirm.com now for a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney!

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
The Guardian
Parliament of Australia – Standing Committees on Community Affairs

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Parent Company Allocates $200 Million for Atrium Mesh Claims in U.S, Canada

October 19, 2018

Late in the evening on Sunday, October 14, Swedish medical conglomerate Getinge stunned financial analysts around the globe when it announced that it had allocated some $200 million in anticipated costs to cover allegations in the United States and Canada over surgical mesh manufactured by its subsidiary Atrium Medical Corp. Morgan Stanley estimated that the $200-million set-aside represents approximately eight percent of Getinge’s entire equity value.

The sheer size of the financial provision, which senior Getinge executives say should cover all costs associated with the Atrium mesh claims, suggests that the companies’ liability may be greater than previously anticipated, prompting a slide in its stock price.

“The [$200 million] provision today materially exceeded our expectation,” a Morgan Stanley analyst told clients, according to Bloomberg.

Presently, approximately 900 lawsuits have been filed over Atrium’s polypropylene mesh, with patients alleging they suffered serious complications after having the device surgically implanted to repair hernias and other pelvic-area conditions. The first trials are expected to take place in 2019.

Despite Getinge’s assurances that “the claims are being vigorously defended,” the $200 million set-aside shows the company’s true feelings about the strength of its legal position.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on surgical mesh lawsuits.


Mesh Lawsuit Update: Judge Orders Creation of Settlement Fund in Ethicon Mesh MDL

October 15, 2018

In an order issued September 14, the judge in charge of federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) over pelvic-repair systems manufactured by Ethicon, Inc. authorized the creation of a qualified settlement fund and assigned a fund administrator to oversee it. The move marks the potential start of winding down the litigation, which has been ongoing for over six years and continues to include tens of thousands of active cases.

Pretrial Order #318 was issued by US District Court Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in response to an Unopposed Motion for Approval of Qualified Settlement Fund, which had been filed September 13 by a law firm representing numerous plaintiffs in the MDL. Lawyers from Milstein, Jackson, Fairchild & Wade LLP had requested creation of the qualified settlement fund to facilitate the efficient processing of a confidential settlement agreement they reached with the defendant companies, including Ethicon and, presumably, its parent company Johnson & Johnson.

From the bench at the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Judge Goodwin appointed as fund administrator the company Archer Systems, LLC, which has been “given the authority to conduct any and all activities necessary to administer” the settlement fund.

Terms of the confidential settlement agreement were not disclosed in the court order, nor were the number of plaintiffs covered by the agreement. According to the MDL’s Member List of Cases, as of October 13, 2018, the MDL included 40,398 total cases, of which 16,536 had been closed, leaving 23,862 active cases remaining.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective medical device, contact TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney!

MDL Docket No. 2327 Website

Mesh Lawsuit Update: Jury Finds Negligence But Deadlocks on Connection to Injuries in Philly Ethicon Mesh Case

September 28, 2018

The jury has deadlocked in the seventh Philadelphia-based trial over alleged defects to pelvic mesh manufactured and distributed by Ethicon Inc., causing the judge to declare a mistrial, Law360 reported September 24.

The case involved plaintiff Susan McFarland, who originally sued Ethicon in July 2013 over injuries allegedly caused by its TVT-O pelvic mesh, which McFarland had implanted in 2008 to treat stress urinary incontinence. However, rather than relieve her symptoms, McFarland contends that defects in the TVT-O design have caused her permanent injuries, including the inability to have sexual intercourse with her husband.

While the jury reported to Judge Michael Erdos that it was able to reach agreement that there had been negligence on the part of the defendant Ethicon, the jurors were hopelessly deadlocked when it came to whether the Ethicon’s negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

According to Law360, the jury initially informed Judge Erdos of the deadlock on Friday, September 21, but the judge asked the jury to reconvene for one more day of deliberations to see if its members could agree on a verdict. On Monday, the judge finally relinquishing, dismissing the panel.

“There seems no reasonable hope that a verdict of 10 jurors or more can be reached,” Judge Erdos conceded before the court prior to addressing the jurors directly. “Everyone stood by their convictions and that’s the most we can ask of you.”

Of the six previous Philadelphia-based trials over Ethicon pelvic mesh, the juries in five have sided with the plaintiffs, resulting in over $105 million in total damages.

If you or a loved one has been injured by defective surgical mesh, hernia mesh, or pelvic mesh, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation with a licensed attorney!


Do you qualify for a hernia mesh lawsuit?

Legal Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be used as medical information or diagnosis. The sources of the information presented in the article have been researched and are linked within the article. Please seek out medical advice from a licensed medical professional if you are experiencing a problem with any of the drugs or devices mentioned in this article. 

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