Dangerous Product Update: Trans-vaginal Mesh Trial Begins in West Virginia Federal Court

Trans-vaginal mesh (TVM) products, produced by several companies and used in surgical repairs in tens of thousands of female patients, has been found to degrade and shrink, requiring replacement and causing other medical problems. The FDA alerted the public in 2008 and further in 2011 of serious complications associated with TVM used to repair pelvic organ prolapse.

On Monday, February 10, the first federal trial against Johnson & Johnson, makers of the “TVT Retropubic” and “Gynecare Prolift” pelvic mesh products, began. Johnson & Johnson will face answering charges that the TVM products are defective and have injured tens of thousands of women.  Over 10,000 lawsuits filed against Johnson and Johnson (and about 50,000 against all manufacturers) have been collected into a federal “multi district litigation” (MDL).  The federal judge in charge has selected several cases to be “bellwether” test cases. Lewis v Ethicon is the first suit against Johnson and Johnson to proceed in Charleston, WV, according to the Gazette-Mail newspaper.

In August 2013, a Charleston jury told another TVM manufacturer, C.R. Bard Inc., to pay $2,000,000  to a woman who suffered serious injuries due to the faulty mesh.  The award included $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages, the latter because Bard officials put profits ahead of safety by ignoring warnings about defects in its “Avaulta” mesh implant.

Our firm, Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender, is handling several of these TVM cases and will be closely monitoring the national results.