Johnson & Johnson Settles 111 Vaginal Mesh LawsuitsJanuary 21, 2015 — Law360 reports that Mentor Corp., a unit of Johnson & Johnson, has asked a federal judge to approve settlements for 111 lawsuits involving ObTape.

The value of the settlement agreement remains confidential. The plaintiffs are asking for approval of a settlement fund trust to hold, manage, and distribute the funds.

ObTape is a type of pelvic sling that is suppose to help support sagging muscles to treat incontinence and organ prolapse.

Instead, women say it can erode into bodily tissues, including vaginal walls, and cause side effects like infection, extrusion, perforation, abscess, and sepsis. When these complications occur, most women need multiple corrective surgeries.

Mentor is accused of defectively designing, manufacturing, and marketing ObTape, failing to warn about side effects, and failing to adequately test ObTape before introducing it in 2003. Mentor discontinued ObTape in 2006.

As of January 15, 2015, federal judges reported that 454 ObTape lawsuits remain pending in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in Georgia, with another 304 cases already resolved or dismissed.

Another unit of Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon Inc., is still facing about 22,721 lawsuits, with only about 600 resolved.

Last year, Endo International, the owner of American Medical Systems, agreed to settle about 10,000 lawsuits for $1.3 billion, with individual settlement amounts in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. However, women with serious complications or revision surgeries would likely be awarded significantly more.

Many attorneys are hoping 2015 will be a year of settlements to resolve the long-running litigation. U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, who oversees about 60,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits in a federal court in West Virginia, has urged device-makers to come to the table instead of risking potentially billions of dollars in verdicts.

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