The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) appeal of a $302 million judgment for false and deceptive marketing of its vaginal mesh implants.
The nation’s highest court denied the medtech maker’s bid for review without comment, allowing the California ruling to stand.
Attorneys for the state sued Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary in 2016, alleging the company neglected to tell patients and physicians about potentially severe complications and misrepresented the frequency and severity of the risk.
The case went to trial in front of a San Diego County judge in 2019 and resulted in a $343.99 million judgment against the companies in early 2020. The Fourth District Court of Appeals in California cut the civil penalties by $42 million last year.
J&J wanted a review of the case, saying it wasn’t fairly notified of the penalties and that attorneys for the state of California didn’t prove that doctors or patients were likely or actually misled by any communication from Ethicon.
“Without clarity from the Supreme Court, the patchwork of vague state statutes will continue to result in uneven, unclear and unfair enforcement that harms both consumers and businesses,” J&J said in a statement.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta called the Supreme Court’s decision “a definitive win in our fight for justice for the Californians hurt by Johnson & Johnson’s lies and duplicity.”
“For years, Johnson & Johnson has refused to take responsibility for misleading patients and their doctors about the risks of a permanent and irreversible implant,” Bonta said in a news release. “Today, those victims can rest easier, knowing the $302 million judgment we secured against the company is final. Let this be a strong warning: The California Department of Justice will not hesitate to take action against corporations that violate the law and harm consumers.”
Johnson & Johnson last week disclosed $600 million in litigation expenses — primarily related to pelvic mesh — for its J&J MedTech segment in 2022.
The company said it faced pelvic mesh claims from approximately 9,000 plaintiffs as of the beginning of 2023.
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