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Second New Jersey pelvic mesh claim goes to court

The second New Jersey personal injury claim against Johnson & Johnson for its defective vaginal mesh implants is now moving forward.

The plastic devices were used to treat urinary incontinence, an issue many women suffer with after childbirth or due to age. At issue is whether or not the woman who received two of the implants had adequate warnings about the dangers that she faced from the devices.

Products can be dangerous even if there's no flaw in their design -- and the users of those products deserve adequate warnings of any foreseeable injuries. Without adequate warnings of the potential risks that come with a product, consumers can't make educated choices about whether they want to use that product.

In this case, the victim of the dangerous implant was among thousands of other women who weren't warned that a chemical in the plastic mesh, polypropylene, could react badly with the body's own chemical system when implanted in the vaginal area -- even though the plastic mesh had been used for a long time to repair stomach hernias and other issues elsewhere in bodies.

Women also weren't warned about another serious issue they could face. When problems develop with the mesh implants, there isn't an easy or reliable method to actually remove them again. The victim in this case has had three surgeries to remove the mesh but still suffers with chronic pain.

The victim in this case claims that insiders in the industry were aware of the problems but went out of their way to keep that information from doctors and patients -- long after they should have notified consumers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the growing number of complaints they'd begun to receive from other victims.

While only a few lawsuits over the implants have gone to court, juries have sided with the plaintiffs -- awarding millions of dollars in damages in both the previous case heard in New Jersey and the four cases already heard in nearby Pennsylvania.

Cases like these help illustrate what can happen when consumers aren't given all the information they deserve to have before using a product. The hefty awards given to the prior plaintiffs show that juries take product liability cases very seriously -- especially when they think a company failed to live up to reasonable expectations.

Source:, "Pelvic mesh case goes to trial in Bergen County with Johnson & Johnson as defendants," Richard Cowen, Nov. 27, 2017

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