Vaginal Mesh Bellwether Trials in 2014: Did Johnson & Johnson Destroy Relevant Documents?

Transvaginal mesh, a device implanted in women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse and other conditions, has led to severe complications in thousands of women, giving rise to thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits. Rather than providing relief from the effects of weakened pelvic muscles and other medical issues resulting from childbirth and aging, in many cases the mesh has caused numerous problems, including the following:

Organ perforation.
Vaginal bleeding and scarring.
Difficulty having sex and/or urinating.
Chronic pain.
Infections.
Financial losses due to missed work days and the need for additional medical procedures.
Emotional and psychological difficulties.

Johnson and Johnson, whose Ethicon unit was responsible for making the Gynecare Prolift mesh implant, is one of the medical companies facing vaginal mesh bellwether trials in 2014. A federal trial will take place in February in West Virginia. But already there’s a conflict between Ethicon and the attorneys of the thousands of women whose cases will be heard. The attorneys have claimed that Ethicon has, in one way or another, gotten rid of hundreds of thousands of documents related to the vaginal mesh devices.

Ethicon has responded by claiming that the company didn’t intentionally make any relevant documents disappear, nor are they intentionally withholding any. At the same time, they do admit that some employees didn’t follow orders from company executives on maintaining documents properly.

These alleged shenanigans on the part of the device company show how important it is for the plaintiffs to have vigilant attorneys advocating for them every step of the way. These attorneys are now pushing to prevent Ethicon from employing certain kinds of defenses, given that the lost documents may in some cases weaken the arguments made by plaintiffs.

It will be interesting to see what the courts decide in terms of these missing documents, and how the federal trial in February will unfold. Women who have suffered from faulty transvaginal mesh devices need to have attorneys on their side who have extensive experience dealing with large companies that are looking to save money and evade responsibility. Johnson and Johnson is just one of a number of medical device manufacturers who produced faulty implants. If you have concerns about your vaginal mesh device, don’t hesitate to contact us. You don’t need to struggle with the potentially horrific effects of these mesh implants on your own.