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California And Washington State File Pelvic Mesh Device Complaints Against Ethicon

On May 24, 2016 California and the State of Washington filed consumer trade practice complaints, in their respective state courts, containing allegations that Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson violated their state laws by deceptive marketing of pelvic mesh devices.

The California Pelvic Mesh Complaint

In the California complaint, filed in the San Diego County Superior Court, it is alleged that the defendants deceptively marketed their pelvic mesh devices as “Safe with minimal risk when in fact these devices exposed women to a host of dangerous complications.” The state claims that the defendants concealed or misrepresented risks including chronic pelvic pain, permanent urinary and/or defecatory dysfunction as well as pain during sexual intercourse and loss of sexual function. The state also noted that the pelvic mesh devices cannot be removed. (The People of the State of California v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 37-2016-00017229-CU-MC-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.)

Lack of FDA Approval

In addition California also alleges in its complaint that the defendants marketed the pelvic mesh devices as having Food and Drug Administration approval, when they were only cleared. They had not gone through the required clinical trials for approval. Clearance requires that the products only be equal to an earlier device.

California alleges that the defendants violated the state’s Business and Professions Code Sections 17200 and 17500 regarding unfair competition and false advertising. The state is seeking a civil penalty of $2500 for each violation.

The Attorney General’s Office stated in a press release that more than 42,000 women have had Ethicon pelvic mesh devices implanted statewide.

The Pelvic Mesh Complaint Filed in Washington

In the Washington complaint, filed in the Kings County Superior Court, it is alleged that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon engaged in unfair or deceptive business practices which violates the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The state claims that the defendants misrepresented the known risks of pelvic mesh devices. (State of Washington v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. n/a, Wash. Super., King Co.)

Washington is seeking $2000 per violation as civil penalties against each defendant. In a press release the Attorney General’s Office said that nearly 12,000 Ethicon pelvic mesh devices were sold in the state of Washington.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Pelvic mesh devices are mesh slings made of polypropylene which are surgically inserted through the vagina. They are anchored to the pelvic bones. The devices are used to treat stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.

Lawsuits have been filed nationwide by plaintiffs alleging that the mesh became hard and brittle causing pain, bleeding, infection and cutting into the vagina. It is being claimed that doctors cannot remove the device but only trim the exposed mesh, leaving behind remnants that can lead to future complications.

In Philadelphia, on February 10, 2016, a jury awarded $13.5 million in Carlino vs. Ethicon. $10 million of that was for punitive damages. The plaintiff in that case suffered through three sling revision and removal surgeries following her Ethicon mesh implant. This followed a $12.5 million award in that same court against Ethicon / Johnson & Johnson on December 22, 2015 by Patricia Hammons.

Eight federal personal injury cases have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under multi-district legislation. According to the MDL judge the cases are collectively the largest product liability litigation is the United States.

Dolman Law Group

Dolman Law Group is a product liability law firm currently seeking women who have suffered from adverse and detrimental effects from the insertion of pelvic mesh devices of any brand. If you are one of these women who experienced pain, bleeding, infection and/or underwent surgery, please reach out to Dolman Law Group for a free, strictly confidential evaluation of your case. You could be entitled to a significant award for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering as well as punitive damages. Call today at 727-451-6900 and speak with a defective medical device attorney today. Do not hesitate as the statutes of limitation apply. 

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