Consumer group wants Holder to probe J&J’s document destruction in pelvic mesh lawsuits

Consumer group wants Holder to probe J&J's document destruction in pelvic mesh lawsuits

U.S. attorney general Eric Holder Jr. should open a criminal probe into the destruction of documents in lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Ethicon over its pelvic mesh products, a consumer advocacy group said this week.

Corporate Action Network, which according to its website was "founded to address the imbalance of power between corporations and people," issued an open letter to Holder calling for the investigation into the documents’ destruction. A federal magistrate judge found earlier this year that Ethicon lost or destroyed documents in the multi-district litigation over its pelvic mesh devices, which are designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in women.

Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert of the U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia found that, although Ethicon did destroy or lose "documents that should have been preserved in anticipation of this litigation," "Ethicon’s loss of evidence was negligent, not willful or deliberate, and plaintiffs have failed to establish a resulting prejudice sufficient to support the severe sanctions of default judgment, striking of defenses, and the offering of an adverse instruction in every case," according to court documents.

"On the other hand, the court finds that plaintiffs are entitled to monetary sanctions to compensate them for the additional time spent by their counsel piecing together missing custodial files and preparing for depositions of key employees for whom scant information was provided by Ethicon. In addition, the undersigned recommends to the presiding district judge that plaintiffs be permitted on a case-by-case basis to introduce evidence of spoliation at trial, when appropriate, and seek an adverse instruction in specific cases," Eifert wrote. Johnson & Johnson has asked that juries not be told about the lost or destroyed documents.

The Corporate Action Network said that Holder should harness the U.S. Justice Dept.’s subpoena powers to investigate Johnson & Johnson and chairman & CEO Alex Gorsky, who oversaw the Ethicon division when the documents were lost or destroyed.

"The magistrate’s decision was necessarily based solely on the filings in the civil case. The Department of Justice, of course, has the authority to conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation of the full extent of the document destruction, and it should do so," according to the letter, sent to Holder by CAN president Mark Fleischman. "We respectfully request that you investigate Johnson & Johnson Inc. and its top executives including chairman and CEO, Alex Gorsky, for 2 possible criminal violations."

"The magistrate found that the destruction of documents goes as far back as 2007 by Johnson and Johnson’s wholly owned subsidiary Ethicon that created the pelvic mesh implants. Alex Gorsky, the current Chairman and CEO of Johnson and Johnson, was the head of that very subsidiary beginning in 2008, and Gorsky has continued to oversee that subsidiary ever since that time, which includes the time that the destruction of documents occurred," Fleischman wrote.

The letter also cited the case of Dr. Vincent Lucente, who reportedly received about $800,000 over 10 years as as consultant for J&J. Lucente allegedly sought to influence whether treatment with Ethicon’s pelvic mesh was deemed experimental by medical publications and the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. The letter also mentioned investigations into other pelvic mesh makers by the attorney’s general of several states.

Johnson & Johnson won the 1st bellwether trial in the Ethicon MDL last month, after Judge Joseph Goodwin tossed the case out of court. Pelvic mesh makers including Ethicon,  C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR), Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), Endo Health Solutions (NSDQ:ENDP), Cook Medical and Coloplast (CPH:COLO B) are facing tens of thousands of lawsuits over their respective mesh offerings.

RSS From Medical Design & Outsourcing

  • Vicon captures a new development in motion capture (mocap)
    Vicon announced the launch of its new flagship camera platform, the Vicon Vantage. Drawing on over 30 years’ of motion capture (mocap) experience, the Vantage platform combines innovative technology with accessible design to open up motion capture to a broader audience. Vicon is a motion capture technology specialist company for science and life industries. Advances in […]
  • Satel’s latest product sets a new milestone in radio manufacturing
    The new Satelline TR4, from the Finnish manufacturer of radio data transmission systems, Satel sets a new milestone. The compact UHF transceiver with transmitting power of 1,000 mW is compatible with the protocols of Pacific Crest, Trimble and Satel. The type certifications in all important regions of the world make the TR4 ideal for integration […]
  • SCHURTER announces retirement of founder and management changes
    SCHURTER announced the retirement of founder Bruno H. Schurter on June 29, 2015. The company, founded in 1982 in Petaluma, California, will change management effective July 1, 2015. Bruno H. Schurter, president and CEO will retire after 33 years of heading up the privately held company, which is a subsidiary of SCHURTER Holding AG, founded in […]
  • Silicone: Expanding the horizon for modern medical devices
    Editor’s note: This article comes from Albright Technologies a manufacturer of custom silicone prototypes and provides volume production for medical, pharmaceutical, industrial, and other applications. Silicone materials have been around for more than 70 years. Beginning in the 1960s, silicones have played an important and evolving part in products designed for the medical field. Since that time, […]
  • DeNovo Sciences appoints a molecular diagnostics veteran as new CSO
    DeNovo Sciences, a producer of  liquid biopsy products, announced the appointment of Dr. Yixin Wang as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). Dr. Wang is a veteran in molecular diagnostics where he has played significant R&D roles at large, multi-national companies including Parke-Davis/Pfizer, Veridex/Johnson & Johnson and Ventana/Roche. He will lead strategic initiatives for clinical development of DeNovo’s […]
  • Albright Technologies expands their silicone offerings
    Albright Technologies, a rapid silicone prototyper, has added silicone injection molding tooling and services to its product lineup. Liquid silicone injection molding became a suitable product offering as Albright expanded its offerings to better serve the silicone molding market. While silicone prototypes are commonly manufactured with low volumes in mind; injection molded liquid silicone rubber parts are […]
  • Applied Silver launches SilvaClean, silver treatment for textiles
    Applied Silver, Inc, is launching SilvaClean, a state-of-the-art silver treatment for textiles, at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s (APIC) forty-second Annual Conference taking place at the Music City Center in Nashville, from June 27 through June 29. Hospitals have invested significantly in reducing the potential of infection through products and processes designed […]
  • Two-Component technology for improved quality of life
    In the field of injection molding and mold making, toolcraft covers all processes within the added value chain–from the design and selection of materials through to the creation of finished and qualified products. Complete solutions offered include injection molding for parts in the small and extremely small component areas, e.g. for medical technology. Utilizing two-component […]
  • GDS security protects medical devices from hackers
    As data breaches become more commonplace with serious consequences to personal, corporate and national security, it is clear that there is no shortage of accomplished and effective hackers ready to steal data and trade it on the open market. Global Data Sentinel (GDS) has the ability to provide retroactive security to remove access to email […]
  • BRAEBON and SomnoMed combine products to combat sleep apnea
    BRAEBON Medical Corporation announces that the DentiTrac oral appliance compliance system has passed a regulatory hurdle and is now FDA cleared in the USA for use with the SomnoDent oral device. BRAEBON congratulates SomnoMed for being the first company to achieve this milestone. “We are pleased DentiTrac is launching in the US market. Accurate oral appliance […]
  • For advanced shielded plastic connector solution, ODU delivers with latest product
    ODU, a company which designs and manufactures connector solutions and cable assemblies, is announcing ODU MEDI-SNAP EMC, the advanced shielded plastic connector solutions, to the US market. ODU MEDI-SNAP EMC is the latest addition to ODU’s Push-Pull circular connectors. The advanced medical connector solution is lightweight, autoclavable, sterilizable and it offers a touch proofed housing and reliable […]

Leave a Reply