J&J Offers Second Major Settlement to Pelvic Mesh Injured Women

Jane Akre
September 9, 2016

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, September 9, 2016~ Healthcare giant offers second settlement to resolve pelvic mesh injury cases.

Undisclosed Settlement is approved by multidistrict litigation judge.

Motions have been flying this week in the Johnson & Johnson Pelvic Mesh litigation filed in federal court in West Virginia.

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to its second settlement to resolve an undisclosed number of lawsuits filed by women injured by its vaginal mesh implants.

J&J and its Ethicon division has come to agreement with Athens, Georgia law firm Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley (BBGA).

Mesh News Desk has an inquiry into J&J for comment.

While settlement amounts are confidential, last April a $5 million settlement was revealed in New Jersey court documents in a private agreement with one injured woman. In January of this year, J&J agreed to a $120 million settlement, to resolve 2,000 to 3,000 pelvic mesh cases, its first big mesh settlement announced. The latest settlement is reported by sources to be close to that amount to resolve fewer cases.

“The exact allocation among and distribution to covered claimants, or any other persons or entities asserting a claim of subrogation or reimbursement, has not been finalized at this time.”

J&J is the last of seven manufacturers to offer settlements to resolve claims of injury and infection. As of today, the healthcare giant faces 34,535 product liability cases filed in federal court in West Virginia, where pelvic mesh cases are consolidated in multidistrict litigation (94,265 total), as well as 8,931 cases filed in New Jersey, Internationally, cases have been filed by law firms representing injured women in Canada, Australia, Israel, among other countries.

Women who have filed lawsuits claim the mesh shrank, caused organ damage, constant pain and infection. In many women, the permanent implants cannot be removed.

In Pretrial Order #237, filed September 7, Judge Joseph Goodwin, who is overseeing multidistrict litigation in WV, approved the Confidential Settlement Agreement with Ethicon. Judge Goodwin also appointed (PTO #236) Special Master Cathy Yanni to allocate and divide the settlement payouts. A woman’s medical condition, the number of surgeries she has had to endure as a result of her pelvic mesh implant will all be considered. Any outstanding liens, whether medical or to a lending company, will be negotiated as well.

The Special Master will receive $300 per claim plus $10,000 per calendar quarter and $2,000 per appeal.

Ms. Yanni has mediated over 10,000 matters over the past 17 years and has been appointed by Judge Joseph Goodwin to act as the Special Master for certain settlement agreements between Covidien, C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific and Coloplast and certain Plaintiffs’ counsel. She has also mediated DePuy Orthopaedics Inc ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, another company owned by Johnson & Johnson, as well as Medtronic Infuse litigation and Gadolinium Contrast Dyes product liability litigation, Bextra and Zicam litigation.

In another filing, Ethicon, moves to have Dr. Anne Weber excluded as an expert in some upcoming pelvic mesh trials.

In PTO #235, Judge Goodwin announces a September 13 and 14, 2016 status hearing to access the progress made by both sides in settling this massive MDL, the largest ever filed in one court.

In February, 2015, Judge Goodwin predicted a "Rocky Path" if both sides did not meet some agreements. See MND story here. ##

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