Ethicon Case Heads to Trial in Transvaginal Mesh Litigation

Published on August 27, 2014 by Sandy Liebhard

A federal Ethicon litigation has begun its second trial for a transvaginal mesh lawsuit in the Southern District of West Virginia, where thousands of similar claims have been filed against the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary.

The reported this week that the trial got underway on August 25th, after jury selection took place three days earlier. Arguments in this transvaginal mesh lawsuit involve Ethicon’s Gynecare TVT-O mesh implant, which the plaintiff alleges to have been designed defectively given its potential to erode within a woman’s body and cause a range of serious complications. According to the Charleston Daily Mail article, thousands of similar claims involving the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary’s products have been centralized in the federal Ethicon litigation in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia.

Chemical Engineer Testifies on Behalf of Transvaginal Mesh Plaintiff

In the first days of trial, jurors in Charleston heard from a chemical engineer whose testimony discussed the body’s reaction to polypropylene, the type of plastic used in products like the TVT-O device. According to statements, the plastic can degrade after reacting with oxygen, and cannot be fully slowed down with antioxidants. The polypropylene becomes brittle and cracked after it is attacked by cells in the body, the plaintiff’s witness told jurors.

Ethicon plans to refute this and other claims involved in the trial, according to the Charleston Daily Mail. “Ethicon will vigorously defend itself in this trial. The evidence will show that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the TVT-O midurethral sling for the treatment of SUI,” Johnson & Johnson said in an e-mailed statement.

Over the past few years, thousands of lawsuits have been filed over transvaginal mesh products. In the Southern District of West Virginia, a Case List updated on August 15th reflects the filing of 19,380 claims against Ethicon, as well as thousands of others involving C.R. Bard Inc., American Medical Systems and Boston Scientific, Corp and other manufacturers. These cases were similarly filed by women who were allegedly injured by transvaginal mesh implants, which they claim to have been designed defectively. Transvaginal mesh may cause chronic pain, as well as pain during sexual intercourse, mesh erosion and other injuries, according to lawsuits.

A consolidated litigation involving Ethicon Gynecare lawsuits has also been established in New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court, where a total of 7,036 claims are filed.

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