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J&J Wins First Federal Ethicon Trans Vaginal Mesh Trial

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According to Bloomberg News, the judge overseeing the Ethicon Transvaginal Mesh bellwether trials, threw out a woman’s product liability lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson (J&J).

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, West Virginia, granted a directed verdict for J&J on Carolyn Lewis’s claims that a TVT Retropubic sling implanted to treat incontinence was improperly designed.

Goodwin threw out a woman’s lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon-produced pelvic meshes “as a matter of law.” The judge concluded that Lewis’s attorneys “failed to present sufficient evidence to support her claim that a defect in the device caused her injury.”

Goodwin had previously dismissed the plaintiff’s failure to warn claim.

The lawsuit was filed by Texas resident Carolyn Lewis, who was implanted with mesh in 2009. Goodwin had to refer to Texas law in the case. The trial was the first in federal court over the TVT Retropubic and Gynecare Prolift pelvic meshes.

Over 12,000 J&J Ethicon Lawsuits

J&J, is exposed to more than 12,000 federal-court claims the TVT Retropubic and its other vaginal-mesh inserts eroded and shrank over time, causing pain and injuries. Those cases have been consolidated and coordinated before Goodwin for pretrial information exchanges.

FDA Warnings

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered J&J, C.R. Bard Inc. and 31 other vaginal-implant makers to study rates of organ damage and complications linked to the implants.

Doctors inserted more than 70,000 mesh devices in the U.S. in 2010, through incisions in the vagina to strengthen pelvic muscles that to support internal organs.

Thousands of women claim that they have been injured by meshes that have eroded. Patients have sued J&J, Bard, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and  Boston Scientific Corp., among other manufacturers.

J&J, asserted that its Prolift and TVT Retropubic devices are safe and effective and that the company gave adequate warning of any risks associated with them.

Plaintiff Mesh Verdicts

In 2013, a New Jersey jury ruled that J&J must pay $11.1 million in damages to a woman who blamed Prolift for her injuries in the first case over any of the company’s implants to go to trial.

Last year, a jury awarded Donna Cisson $2 million, finding that C.R. Bard failed to warn of the product’s dangers and sold a defective product.

In another case against C.R. Bard last year, a settlement was reached just before opening statements were set to begin.

The case is Lewis v. Johnson & Johnson, 12-cv-04301, U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston).