Groups Calls for DOJ to Investigate J&J for Document Destruction, Launches Website

Jane Akre
March 26, 2014
J&J hurts women

Today, March 26th, a consumer group, Corporate Action Network (CAN) called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Johnson & Johnson for document destruction. A copy of the letter the group sent to Attorney General Eric Holder is here.

CAN also announced the launch of the website in Response to Pattern of Defective Medical Implants and Harmful Consumer Products


Corporate Action Network (CAN) is asking Holder to investigate why the company destroyed tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pages of documents concerning its pelvic mesh implants that were under a litigation hold and should have been made available during the discovery process in litigation.

judge mallet 200

There are currently at least 22,000 lawsuits filed in two courts that name J&J products, Ethicon and Gynecare, the women's health division which made the allegedly defective pelvic mesh.

A lawsuit that concluded in a federal court in West Virginia last year, Cisson v. C.R. Bard, concluded the plastic polypropylene mesh, the same used in Ethicon products, was defective. See the story here.

Alex Gorsky MBA Veterans Conference, Nov. 2011

Alex Gorsky MBA Veterans Conference, Nov. 2011

CAN also wants the top executives of J&J, including Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky investigated for their role in the destruction of documents critical to lawsuits brought by thousands of women seriously injured by the company’s pelvic mesh implants.

J&J responded to the Washington Post here. "Matthew Johnson, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, which makes the implants, said in a statement that the company “acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of our pelvic mesh products,” which he said are considered a “gold standard” treatment."

“The real war on women isn’t being fought in Congress or on political talk shows, it’s taking place in executive boardrooms, where corporate profits are prioritized over women’s health. DOJ should immediately investigate whether Johnson and Johnson deliberately destroyed evidence that would have undercut its defense in the lawsuits over pelvic mesh,” ~ CAN spokeswoman Levana Layendecker.

CAN asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Johnson and Johnson and Gorsky for two possible criminal violations: obstruction of a criminal investigation of health care offenses and destruction of records in a federal probe. The request follows the February 4, 2014 conclusion of West Virginia U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert that Johnson and Johnson improperly destroyed thousands of documents regarding the development of pelvic mesh implants. See Carolyn Lewis Doc PTO#100 Doc #1069 Eifert Ruling. February 4, 2014.

According to a press release:

"Johnson and Johnson recently entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, which, in part, requires the company to report any suspected violations of health care program or FDA requirements as well as the company’s own policies and procedures. Johnson and Johnson also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ in which the company pledged to “voluntarily and timely” disclose any misconduct. It does not appear that Johnson and Johnson reported the document destruction."

“It defies credibility to believe that a company facing as many lawsuits as Johnson and Johnson is over its defective product inadvertently destroyed thousands of relevant documents and computer files. DOJ should investigate immediately to make clear rich multi-national corporations are not above the law,” Melanie Sloan, Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, stated.

Mesh News Desk has reported (see story here) on the documents lost in the destruction including hard drives of corporate executives in charge of the launch of the pelvic mesh products including Prolift mesh kits, which J&J has since removed from the market.

CAN requested Mesh News Desk editor, Jane Akre, speak to reporters during a news conference at 11am EST Wednesday.

Learn More Here:

CAN website

Mesh News Desk, Cisson v. C.R. Bard concludes, August 15, 2013

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