update Federal Court Hears Motion on Destruction of Ethicon Evidence

On January 23, the federal court overseeing the multidistrict litigation involving the vaginal mesh products manufactured and sold by Ethicon heard arguments related to a motion accusing Ethicon and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, of either losing or destroying key documents.

Attorneys for some plaintiffs filed the pending motion on Dec. 2, alleging that Ethicon “has lost or destroyed at least tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of documents that likely contain information relevant to [p]laintiffs’ claims,” according to court documents (In re: Ethicon Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation; MDL-2327, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.) The plaintiffs’ counsel is asking for default judgments in favor of the moving plaintiffs, a declaration that the court will issue a “spoliation instruction” to the jury at every bellwether trial, and certain additional relief, including charging Ethicon for the plaintiffs’ reasonable costs and attorney’s fees associated with the motion.

During the discovery portion of pretrial proceedings, each party is required to produce all relevant information requested by the other. If the allegations against Ethicon are true, then it can have an adverse effect on the plaintiffs’ ability to receive compensation for harms suffered because the burden of proof is on the plaintiffs.

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon’s vaginal mesh lawsuits are progressing in federal court in West Virginia. The Rottenstein Law Group LLP notes that while there are six different transvaginal mesh lawsuit consolidations for as many manufacturers, Ethicon is the only company not reportedly involved in mass settlement talks.

The Rottenstein Law Group LLP encourages those who believe they have suffered from the alleged side effects of their vaginal mesh implants to speak with a lawyer about filing a claim to demand compensation, if appropriate. Women are filing transvaginal mesh lawsuits alleging they suffered from adverse side effects such as pain and discomfort, in addition to device erosion, according to court documents. Vaginal mesh products were designed to enable doctors to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

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