Hernia Mesh Settlement Payouts Resolved Group of Lawsuits Against Ethicon

Agreements have been reached to resolve thousands of lawsuits over Ethicon Physiomesh, but finalizing the hernia mesh settlement payouts has been slow

A group of more than 160 plaintiffs indicate they have finalized settlements to resolve their hernia mesh lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary, marking some of the first of what is expected to be several thousand hernia mesh settlements reached to resolve allegations that the company sold a defective polypropylene product, which often failed, resulting in injuries and the need for revision surgery.

The lawsuits stem from an Ethicon Physiomesh recall issued in 2016, involving a multi-layered, flexible composite hernia mesh product that was removed from the market only six years after it was introduced, amid a concerning number of complaints involving high failure rates and painful complications experienced by users.

Johnson & Johnson has faced more than 4,000 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits throughout the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that the manufacturer sold an unreasonably dangerous and defective product, which caused plaintiffs to suffer severe abdominal pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesions, perforations, erosion and other injuries associated with failure of the hernia mesh. Most of the claims have since been reportedly resolved through a global settlement agreement, but finalizing the disbursement of funds has been slow.

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Cases reviewed for problems with several types of hernia repair products.

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Given similar questions of fact and law, the federal cases were centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

On May 24, a joint motion (PDF) was filed to have a group of 161 cases dismissed with prejudice, indicating the parties have finalized their hernia mesh settlement to resolve the claims. However, no details on individual settlement payouts was disclosed.

June 2023 Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Update

In addition to lawsuit over the recalled Ethicon Physiomesh, tens of thousands of other product liability lawsuits have been filed against C.R. Bard, Covidien, Atrium Medical and other manufacturers of similar polypropylene mesh products used in recent years, which have also been linked to high failure rates.

There are currently about 18,000 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in a separate MDL, which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. in the Southern District of Ohio, where a series of early “bellwether” trials have been held to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the claims. However, following mixed results, Bard has not finalized any global hernia mesh settlement to resolve that litigation.

At least two more Bard lawsuits are currently scheduled for trial in the MDL, and a Bard hernia mesh settlement master was appointed in August 2022, to work with the parties to determine whether an agreement could be reached to resolve large numbers of claims. However, if deals are not reached, thousands of individual lawsuits may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates in the coming years.


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