U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin has ordered 26 Ethicon cases to be heard toward the end of 2015 in a single trial. All 26 plaintiffs allege that they were implanted with tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and that the TVT has since caused them to suffer a variety of serious and life-altering injuries.
Judge Goodwin faces the one of the largest dockets ever filed in one federal court – 77,732 pelvic mesh trials consolidated before his court. Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit represents the greatest number of cases, 26,524, and was part of a consolidation into Judge Goodwin’s court in early 2012. Ethicon makes a variety of transvaginal mesh products used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and SUI.
Although J&J has stated that its products are safe and effective, the company removed four of its pelvic mesh products from the market in June 2012:
- TVT Secur
- Prosima Pelvic Floor Repair System
- Prolift Pelvic Floor Repair System
- Prolift MTM Pelvic Floor Repair System
The product liability lawsuits allege that the pelvic mesh products were defective in design and manufacture and that the company was negligent in selling them. The plaintiffs also charge J&J with failure to warn, breach of express and implied warranty, and punitive damages.
According to court documents, the plaintiffs are alleging that they suffered the following injuries from the TVT implant:
- Mesh erosion
- Mesh contraction
- Scar tissue
- Organ perforation
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Urinary problems
- Pelvic floor damage
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
- Prolapse of organs
Common issues of fact allow the cases to be consolidated into one trial, since all the surgeries were performed in the same state (West Virginia) but by different doctors, and Ethicon manufactured all the mesh products involved in these specific cases.