This Week – Kentucky AG Files Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson Over Surgical Mesh

//This Week – Kentucky AG Files Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson Over Surgical Mesh

This Week – Kentucky AG Files Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson Over Surgical Mesh

andy beshear 2Mesh Medical Device News Desk, August 16, 2016 ~ Kentucky Joins Washington State and California in filing civil action against J&J for deceptively marketing its pelvic surgical mesh to consumers.  

Seeks millions in restitution. 

Kentucky is the latest state to file a civil lawsuit naming Johnson & Johnson and its medical device unit, Ethicon, for deceptively marketing surgical transvaginal mesh.

Disintegrating J&J mesh, Sling the Mesh campaign

Disintegrating J&J mesh, Sling the Mesh campaign, photo T Rogers

AG Andy Beshear’s office announced the lawsuit today. The state seeks millions of dollars in civil penalties from the healthcare giant.

The state alleges J&J violated Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act that prohibits companies from introducing products into the marketplace using false, misleading deceptive or unfair acts.

“The way this company clearly chose profits over people is outrageous,” Beshear said. “My office has talked to victims whose lives have been devastated by this company’s deceitful practices. We may not be able to give them back the lives they once had, but my office will do everything we can to hold this company accountable.”

“I do not tolerate those who misrepresent their product by lying or lying by omission to Kentuckians.”   

It took a number of readers of Mesh News Desk to meet secretly with the AG’s office staff in Frankfurt to tell them their personal stories of life after a pelvic mesh product.

They are just six of the more than 15,000 women implanted with J&J mesh in Kentucky who say they had insufficient information about the known hazards so they could make true informed consent, according to the lawsuit. Many have done so even though they were threatened by their law firms not to go forward or they would be dropped as clients.

The company ignored J&J insiders who wanted to add more risks to the warnings, says the action.

“The way this company clearly chose profits over people is outrageous,” Beshear said. “My office has talked to victims whose lives have been devastated by this company’s deceitful practices. We may not be able to give them back the lives they once had, but my office will do everything we can to hold this company accountable.”  

See the rest of AG Beshear’s press conference here.  See coverage on Stat here.

logoStat reports on the J&J response to the civil lawsuit.  According to an Ethicon spokeswoman the lawsuit is, “unjustified, and the company plans to vigorously defend itself against the allegations.  The evidence will show that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the marketing of our pelvic mesh products.

“The use of implantable mesh is often the preferred option to treat certain female pelvic conditions, including pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, and is backed by years of clinical research … Ethicon is concerned that this lawsuit will keep women from obtaining treatment for the often debilitating symptoms of stress urinary incontinence.”

According to the AG’s lawsuit, the company intentionally and purposely concealed and misrepresented to doctors many of the risks and adverse events of the permanent implants which include chronic pain, infection, urinary and defecatory dysfunction, pain with sexual intercourse or loss of sexual function. Ethicon also called its pelvic mesh implants FDA approved, then it was only FDA cleared.

Protesters at J&J shareholders meeting, April 2014

Protesters at J&J shareholders meeting, April 2014

The Attorneys General of both Washington State and California have also filed similar civil lawsuits alleging violations of their state’s Consumer Protection Act.

Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon has the greatest number of product liability lawsuits filed in the U.S. with 35,000 filed on the consolidated proceedings in West Virginia, and another 15,000 or so filed in individual state court.  Additionally, J&J is facing civil lawsuits in Australia, Israel, Canada, Scotland, among other countries.

Earlier this year, J&J lost two product liability lawsuits to plaintiffs in Philadelphia with a $12.5 million award to Patricia Hammons and $13.5 million jury verdict for Sharon Carlino.  See MND stories here and here.  

Women from Kentucky who are not represented in litigation but are asked to call the AG’s office at 502-696-5389.

The lawsuit was filed August 15, 2016 in Franklin Circuit Court, KY.

Here is the lawsuit:


By | 2016-08-21T21:10:36+00:00 August 16th, 2016|News|42 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. Brenda August 16, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply

    What happens with the lawsuits of the private sector when this happens?
    Thank you!

    • Jane Akre August 16, 2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

      This is a state consumer protection act alleged violation. it has no direct bearing on your individual personal liability lawsuit other than to alert shareholders of J&J that the company has done wrong, allegedly AND to put pressure on the company to make this whole chapter go away with something other than a $40,000 settlement. Women are smarter than that, in my opinion.

      • Tammy (KY) August 16, 2016 at 11:50 am - Reply

        It brings Awareness, and hopefully push’s J&J to settle these cases, before all the states follow and Sue. Mesh is Crippling Women and Men. I want to see Hernia Mesh Victims get the help they need also. All Mesh is Toxic Poison

        • jen August 17, 2016 at 3:34 am - Reply

          Hernia mesh is bad also, still fighting the results of atrium mesh. Back to doctor today for biospy report, chronic inflammation. The doctor specifically stated the mesh did all this. Awful!

          • Jane Akre August 17, 2016 at 8:10 am

            Jen- do you see the ad for Atrium lawsuits on page one one of Mesh News. Hollis law in Kansas is pursuing them… you might connect. Hollis is looking at other hernia meshes as well so fingers crossed that there may be a legal avenue for others……

        • Angie S August 20, 2016 at 10:32 am - Reply

          What about the men and women who have lost there normal lives because of the hernia mesh? Hernia mesh is made out of the same thing! Nobody seems to care about the damage its done to there organs , sex drive,fatigue, no longer able to work due to constant pain even after having the mesh removed! My husband is one who suffers everyday now!

          • Jane Akre August 21, 2016 at 7:34 pm

            Mesh News Desk tries to report on the latest in hernia mesh. The only lawyer ad is for Atrium mesh and we encourage other law firms to step up and represent the injured.

      • Brenda August 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

        Thank you so much Jane, for all you do!

  2. Samuel August 16, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

    It is about time to hit JNJ with where it hurts, (Their Fat Bank Account). Their lies and deception MUST have serious ramification and those responsible for the pain and death of many women like (my wife) should be punished by law.

  3. Mary Pat August 16, 2016 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Praise God!!! Attorney Generals are not working for their “40%”. They are public servants who believe in justice and work very hard to protect the citizens they represent. They WILL put and end to this travesty. Big pharma cannot run , hide, bribe or escape the power of Attorneys General , united in this battle. Come on Attorneys General, unite and take a stand to reveal the truth to the world and protect others from having their bodies destroyed for the sake of corporate greed.

  4. Tammy (KY) August 16, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Wonderful Article Miss Jane, so thankful for your hard work. I pray God allows me to meet you soon. Planning a trip to Fla to spend sometime with Lisa hopefully next month. We may have to make plans to meet you. Big Hugs, keep telling our stories and the Polypropylene Mesh MESS

  5. Mary Pat August 16, 2016 at 11:59 am - Reply

    One more thought, bug pharma has tried to convince shareholders that they are innocent from any wring doing, that they can resolve the annoying lawsuits that were generated by ambulance chasing mesh lawyers…. Guess what shareholders, Attorneys General do not file frivolous lawsuits to “chase ambulances”. Attorneys General investigate criminal activity, uphold the law, and fight to protect their citizens! So, shareholders, the truth is finally out from under big pharmas rug! The mesh injured have been vindicated with truth and justice! Gives me goosebumps and fills mu heart with gratitude for Attorneys General. We, the mesh injured, will be praying for you, Attorneys General. Keep up the good work and God bless you in all of your efforts! God bless you, too, Jane, for your ever faithful support and hard work! You, too, have a beautiful servants heart and you serve the public, in fact, you setve the entire world, exceptionally well.

  6. k August 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    It helps so much to know when we have been heard. We are victimized over and over again when no one is listening and nothing is happening to J&J and they continue to get away with what they have done. So many can’t work and so many are barely working and holding on. How can the world turn its back on us including our own government. They tax payers are paying the big bill of disabled women J&J have injured. That is the message we need to get out. They made millions on these products and the tax payer is paying for it. TAX PAYERS LISTEN UP!!!! YOU ARE HELPING TO PAY FOR INJURED WOMEN CAUSED BY A COMPANY WORTH BILLIONS AND IT ISN’T YOUR RESPONSIBILITY OR FAULT. IT IS THEIR FAULT SO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!!!!

  7. k August 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jane and to the women of KY who are suffering.

    • Jen August 22, 2016 at 4:09 am - Reply

      I recently had a revision surgery to remove mesh, still some left…but the doctor implanted a surgimesh with tacks, still problems chronic inflammation, severe gastritis, now for ct scan and another scope, he is talking about nerve way! He needs to fix what he messed up now! What do you think?

      • Jane Akre August 22, 2016 at 9:22 am - Reply

        So he put another polypropylene mesh in you? Along with tacks? Does this doctor work with Surgimesh? CT scan won’t see mesh, only an ultrasound will see it is my understanding and not behind bone. I would have some serious questions for my doctor…What did he implant and why? Does he have a financial arrangement with them? does he teach other doctors on its use? Does he use other types of mesh? Does he know how to do a non mesh repair? Does he know how to harvest fascia to make a sling? Please keep all of your medical records- always!

  8. Mimi Boops August 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for posting this article. I am wondering how we can find out if the Attorney General representing our particular state has filed suit against any of the mesh manufacturers (particularly those in the WV MDL) or how we can get our State AG to file a lawsuit mirroring the other states that have already filed suit in their courts?

    Do you have any advice or information with respect to the above?

    Thank you so much!
    Mimi Boops

    • Mary Pat August 16, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Mimi Boops and every one reading this, call your state Attorney General and file a consumer protection complaint. That will get your AG involved.

  9. Sea August 16, 2016 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    If we had ONE judge as a women who has had this implant …things might be faster and different ….Hanging in there!

    • sheryl r August 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      I agree with you 100%. People don’t get the full effect unless it’s them or their loved ones. I would like to see one of the attorney’s for J&J get an implant. Since it’s so safe.

  10. Barb August 16, 2016 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I’m very proud of these woman who spoke to their Attorney General in their State. Is this going to have any impact on pending lawsuits?? Is J&J going to try to use this as another stall tactic?? So glad I don’t have them, however feel so bad for those woman who do. They should have their day and get a settlement for everything they have been through as well, May God Bless you All!!

  11. Regina August 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    What about Ohio wish they would file and the other manufacturers should be also filed against .

  12. Maria August 17, 2016 at 1:16 am - Reply

    I agree that having the State AG’s go after J&J will put pressure on them but the States should not get a dime of what we have all been waiting years for. J&J lawyers and the company are very smart and this will only make the pot smaller that they will settle with eventually. The company has other medical devices and talc powder lawsuits going on here and abroad and now add in State AG lawsuits. They may be the largest company of all the device makers but there is a limit and it will hurt everyone in the long run with all the additional lawsuits. The women that ignored their attorney’s advice are forcing the process and they will ruin it for themselves. The system will finish the process eventually and everyone needs to have patience and ignore the lawsuits for a while. There are women on here that are faithful to the Lord in prayer which means all of us are covered. Let’s all pray God’s will be done and to give all of us the patience to wait on Him.

    • Jane Akre August 17, 2016 at 8:17 am - Reply

      That is one opinion Maria. Remember J&J is a $70 billion a year company….

      • Maria August 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

        So then it’s good for States looking for revenue to sue J&J because it’s in our best interest right? It’s just a handful of States and it’s OK as long as we get what we want. So what if other cash strapped States jump on the money train? J&J is a 70 BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY and they can afford it. When the settlement does take place, J&J will not let multi-million dollar State awards affect any mesh settlements. Why? Because J&J is a 70 Billion Dollar company that always has our best interests at heart. This reminds me of those who say rich people have too much money and that is wrong and if they won’t share it we should take it!

  13. Rebecca D August 17, 2016 at 7:34 am - Reply

    i live in michigan and i had this same one put in 2011, i want it out but i dont have anyone who believes me. They tell me I have IC and the treatments that they put in my bladder burn !!! They tell me to take the med for it and it makes me sick. I still have blood in my urine and dont insurance to travel out of state for a doctor that will remove it. I feel they are covering something up. I need to speak with a doctor who does believe in the mesh and understand this in michigan.

    • Jane Akre August 17, 2016 at 8:09 am - Reply

      Wish the medical community recognized this mesh mess but sadly it does not. You might try Dr. Daniel Elliott at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, he was an early critic of mesh and its complications. Also another woman recommends Dr. Christopher Klingele, OB-GYN/Urogynecologist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Does anyone have a reliable doc in Michigan??. I can’t believe there isn’t someone at U of Michigan…….

      • Still Standing August 19, 2016 at 9:34 am - Reply

        Jane, the good news is that the medical community IS finally recognizing mesh mess. There have been articles in some major medical journals about mesh complications. There is a good article discussing mesh on an open acess site. i will find it and post it here. Additionally,there are several forums about mesh and mesh pain at the AUGS pelvic floor disorder meeting in Denver at the end of September. One is particularly important. There will be a live workshop where participants will be able to see Dr. Veronkis remove a mesh implant. So there is much for the medical community to learn, but at least they ARE having the opportunity to learn. At last year’s meeting, they did not have anything about mesh, so progress is being made. At least the conversation has been started and I imagine that physicians’ mindsets will start to change. We can certainly contribute to that conversation.

    • k August 17, 2016 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      You need Dr. Raz or Dr. V.

    • Jane Akre August 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      woman writes: Please share Dr. Daniel McBurney Morgan and Dr. Dee Fenner …… Dr. Morgan was the first Urogynecologist to identify my issues with mesh and performed my first surgery. Unfortunately he was only able to complete a partial removal. They are an excellent team of doctors regardless. Best of luck to her.

  14. sheryl r August 17, 2016 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    My mesh was implanted in KY. I spoke with the atty general’s ofc and I didn’t think they were listening. I guess they were. My question is who gets the money? The state of KY or the injured parties? I would be amiss if I didn’t thank Jane for keeping us informed. I get more info., from your column than I get from my atty. Thanks sweet Jane. God bless you for helping us all.

    • Jane Akre August 18, 2016 at 10:33 am - Reply

      The short answer is the state recoups what it has spent on mesh that violated good consumer protection practices. The big picture is J&J has to answer to its shareholders and it will cost $$$. There are now three states suing the company and this could put pressure on them to settle the entire mesh mess, but that’s just one opinion.

      • Still Standing August 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

        Unfortunately, Jane, the majority of stockholders now invest in mutual funds instead of just picking individual stocks to own. Mutual funds allow money to be diversified across sectors so they are a safer Investment. I imagine that many people dont even know what stocks they own. I get a statement quarterly with net loss or gain, but I dont actually know each company the funds are in in my IRA. I will contact our broker this week and ask him and let you know how hard it is to get rid of a single stock that is included in the mutual funds. I dont think you can do it. So, stockholders could notice if their portfolio is losing money and ask what stock is contributing to that I guess, but it is doubtful that mutual fund investors would take much notice.

  15. Becky August 17, 2016 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Call your university hospitals and ask for the gyno department. Then ask if there is someone that specializes in removal of mesh. That’s what I did. Met with a Dr from University of Kentucky. First thing I asked him was how many he had done. Said it was his specialty. I asked a nurse that worked for him. She said for several years that and the birth control device kept him in business. I had less pain immediately after the surgery than before I went into surgery.Try it.

    • Jane Akre August 18, 2016 at 10:32 am - Reply

      You area very careful consumer Becky… very smart thing to do!. Nurses know everything of course, they are a great resource if they can be candid without losing their job.

  16. dottie August 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    U of M in Ann Arbor, Michigan has a whole system going to treat mesh victems. Dr Cameron and Dr Morgan took mine out. You will be happy with them. Mine had been in sense 2006. Can’t say more because of confidence rules but call urology at U of M.

    • Jane Akre August 18, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Thank you so much Dottie!!

    • Jane Akre August 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Another woman writes: Please share Dr. Daniel McBurney Morgan and Dr. Dee Fenner …… Dr. Morgan was the first Urogynecologist to identify my issues with mesh and performed my first surgery. Unfortunately he was only able to complete a partial removal. They are an excellent team of doctors regardless. Best of luck to her.

  17. Lordhelpus August 20, 2016 at 5:36 am - Reply

    I have a pic of my eroded mesh. We should all start asking our docs for these pics and send them out to all our AG’s, since pictures are worth thousands of words, it may be the best way to make everyone understand…is there a way we can post them here as well? Those of us who can’t do the rallying, can do our part right from our home, so let’s stay positive, pray and hope for the best outcome!

  18. Bejah Blue September 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Well, God Bless the great state of Kentucky!


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