April 29, 2016 — If a recent $5 million settlement is any indication, Johnson & Johnson may end up paying more than expected to resolve 40,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits pending in New Jersey and West Virginia.
In September 2015, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $5 million to settle a vaginal mesh lawsuit. The plaintiff, Pamela Wicker, claimed the Ethicon Prolift mesh eroded inside her body, causing pain during sex and forcing her to endure multiple surgeries to remove the implant.
The confidential settlement went public when the woman’s lawyer asked a judge to approve legal fees of $1.65 million, according to court filings in Hackensack. In an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, the company said the case “presented unique circumstances.”
Wicker’s case would have been the second trial in New Jersey, where another 8,700 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been centralized. In 2013, the first trial ended in an $11.1 million jury verdict. The plaintiff, Linda Gross, experienced chronic pain and underwent 18 surgeries after the Gynecare Prolift mesh eroded into her body.
In addition to the New Jersey mass-tort, another 31,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits are pending in a centralized federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2327) in the U.S. District Court for West Virginia. In January, the company offered $120 million to resolve 2,000 to 3,000 lawsuits, for an average payment of about $50,000 per case.
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