As Johnson & Johnson gears up for the first federal vaginal mesh trial, the company faces allegations of destroying or misplacing important documents. Attorneys who are fighting on behalf of women who claim to have suffered injuries from J&J’s vaginal mesh products say the company lost or destroyed potentially hundreds of thousands of documents that could have been used in upcoming trials.
“Ethicon’s document destruction has severely prejudiced the plaintiffs for the upcoming bellwether trials,” according to the filing. “Defendants should not benefit from the gaps in plaintiffs’ story that defendant created.”
According to Bloomberg, Ethicon, the division of J&J that makes vaginal mesh products, admitted that the documents saved on former Ethicon President Renee Selman’s hard drive were destroyed. Attorneys argue that J&J should be prohibited from seeking to toss suits that are filed beyond legal deadlines and from using other certain defenses at trial due to the company’s carelessness.
Thousands of women that have been implanted with surgical mesh products to treat pelvic organ prolapse have claimed that the mesh products have eroded over time, causing severe pain and injuries. Lawsuits are being filed against J&J, Bard, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp.
Last year J&J stopped selling some of its lines of vaginal mesh implants due to an influx of personal injury lawsuits against the company. The first federal trial against J&J is scheduled for Feb. 10 in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia. A state court already awarded a woman in New Jersey more than $11 million in a transvaginal mesh lawsuit against J&J.