The Federal Court of Australia has today approved the $300 million in-principle settlement in two class actions brought against Johnson & Johnson Medical and Ethicon which sought damages on behalf of Australian women who received pelvic mesh implants.
The settlement was reached in-principle on 9 September 2022 and is the largest settlement in a product liability class action in Australian history.
The first class action was filed in the Federal Court on 15 October 2012, and ran to trial over seven months between July 2017 and February 2018.
Judgment was delivered in the applicants’ favour in November 2019.
Johnson & Johnson Medical and Ethicon appealed to the Full Court of the Federal Court, which dismissed the appeal in March 2021.
In November 2021 the High Court dismissed Johnson & Johnson Medical’s application for special leave to appeal.
The second class action was filed in April 2021 on behalf of women who received their implants on or after 4 July 2017 and were not eligible to join the first class action.
Shine Lawyers’ Joint Head of Class Actions, Vicky Antzoulatos, said the approval of the settlement of the proceedings brings certainty for group member claimants.
“We welcome this settlement which brings the litigation to an end. We hope this compensation will make a significant difference to the lives of those Australian women who have experienced complications with their implants,” she said.
The settlement approval is subject to a later determination of the distribution of the approved settlement fund, including legal costs, and the process by which the settlement fund is to be distributed. The class actions include women implanted with one or more of the below devices in Australia up to 30 June 2020 who suffered one or more complications:
Gynecare Prolift Pelvic Floor Repair Systems (Anterior, Posterior and Total);
Gynecare Prosima Pelvic Floor Repair Systems (Anterior, Posterior and Combined);
Gynecare Prolift+M Pelvic Floor Repair Systems (Anterior, Posterior and Total);
Gynecare TVT Abbrevo;
Gynecare TVT Secur;
Gynecare TVT Exact;
Gynecare TVT Obturator; and
Gynecare Gynemesh PS Nonabsorbable Polypropylene Mesh
About the class action
Shine Lawyers filed two class actions against Ethicon Sarl, Ethicon Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd (the respondents) on behalf of Australian women who suffered complications after receiving one or more Gynecare prolapse mesh and incontinence tape implants.
The trial in the first class action began in the Federal Court in Sydney on 4 July 2017 and concluded in February 2018. Judgment was handed down in the applicants’ favour in November 2019. The decision was appealed by the respondents and the Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed the appeal on Friday 5 March 2021. On 5 November 2021, the High Court dismissed the respondent’s application for special leave to appeal.
In April 2021, Shine Lawyers filed a second class action against the respondents in the Federal Court on behalf of women implanted with one or more of the Gynecare prolapse mesh and incontinence tape implants from July 2017 to include those women who had not been eligible to join the first class action which was filed in 2012.
Shine Lawyers funded these two actions.