Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Transfer to New Jersey Court

Shay Morrigan | November 30th, 2011

On October 12, 2010, all vaginal mesh lawsuits concerning Johnson & Johnson’s (J & J’s) Gynecare pelvic mesh litigation were consolidated to the Superior Court of New Jersey under the Honorable Carol E. Higbee in Atlantic County. In a general order issued on October 28, 2011, Judge Higbee set the guidelines for selecting which vaginal mesh lawsuits will go to trial first. Plaintiffs in the cases, who allege to have experienced serious transvaginal mesh complications, and defendants will participate equally in the bellwether trial selection process.

Transvaginal mesh complications lead to vaginal mesh lawsuits

Though surgical mesh has long been used in hospitals to help support tissues in various surgeries, mesh made specifically for use in repairing pelvic organ prolapse has been on the market only for about a decade. Increasing incidences of transvaginal mesh complications have resulted in a growing number of plaintiffs filing vaginal mesh lawsuits.

Many patients who have joined pelvic mesh litigation because of transvaginal mesh complications first received their mesh due to pelvic organ prolapse, or POP. This condition occurs when the muscles and connective tissues supporting pelvic organs like the bladder, urethra and bowel become weakened due to childbirth, menopause, or hysterectomy. These weakened muscles are no longer able to completely support critical organs, so these organs then ”fall” (prolapse) into the vaginal wall, causing symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to more severe pain, stress urinary incontinence, and sexual difficulties.

To treat POP, net-like surgical mesh is surgically implanted to provide support to the fallen organs. In many cases the mesh was successful, but a large number of vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed because of serious transvaginal mesh complications, including bleeding, erosion, urinary problems, scarring, organ perforations, severe pain, and transvaginal mesh extrusion.

Vaginal mesh lawsuits allege numerous products are defective

Women who are victims of transvaginal mesh complications (many of whom have filed actions as part of pelvic mesh litigation) often have to go through multiple corrective surgeries, and are sometimes left with permanent damage. Vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against numerous manufacturers because of alleged faulty products such as Gynecare, Avaulta, Bard, and AMS.

The FDA warned of transvaginal mesh complications in 2008, and then issued a sterner warning on July 13, 2011 stating that vaginal mesh complications are not rare, and that vaginal mesh corrective surgery may be no more effective than traditional methods of repair.

Vaginal mesh lawsuits consolidated in New Jersey

Consolidation of all Gynecare vaginal mesh lawsuits (which allege transvaginal mesh complications) in New Jersey’s Atlantic County has helped the pre-trial process move forward more efficiently, with all vaginal mesh lawsuits sharing information and witness testimony.

Thousands of women have undergone vaginal mesh repair, however, which has resulted in hundreds of vaginal mesh lawsuits alleging transvaginal mesh complications. Federal pelvic mesh litigation has been consolidated in West Virginia, while vaginal mesh lawsuits involving Bard Avaulta mesh products have been consolidated in the southern District of West Virginia.