Shine Lawyers mesh trial: Pelvic mesh implants not fit for sale, Judge rules
18 June 2019
“DEFECTIVE”: SHINE LAWYERS WINS AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST WOMEN’S HEALTH CLASS ACTION ON PELVIC MESH. JUDGE RULES IN “SCATHING” FINDINGS THAT JOHNSON & JOHNSON ENGAGED IN MISLEADING CONDUCT AND WAS DRIVEN BY “COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES” Leading Class Actions Law Firm Shine Lawyers says today’s Federal Court decision is a win for the brave women who spoke out about their suffering after pelvic mesh implants left them in chronic and debilitating pain.
Federal Court Judge Anna Katzmann found the pelvic mesh implants sold by Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon were “not fit for purpose” and of “unmerchantable quality”.
The findings in the class action, the largest women's health class action in Australia’s history, open the way for thousands of compensation claims against the medical giants.
The class action commenced in October 2012 and culminated in a trial that ran over 7 months starting in July 2017 before the 1500-page findings were handed down this morning in Sydney.
“It has been a long journey towards justice for the many women whose lives were destroyed by the defective pelvic mesh and incontinence tape implants,” said Shine Lawyers’ Special Counsel for Class Actions Rebecca Jancauskas.
“The decision the court delivered today tells these brave women that they have been heard and that they can now bring individual damages claims for the often-irreparable damage that these implants have caused to their lives,” said Ms Jancauskas.
“Australians deserve to know that medical devices in this country are safe and properly tested. We need more than blind trust that manufacturers are doing the right thing,” said Ms Jancauskas.
Shine Lawyers’ claim on behalf of affected women alleged that the implants should not have been sold, that the warnings accompanying the implants were inadequate and that the implants caused an unacceptable rate of complications including erosion, incontinence and chronic pain.
Justice Katzmann has deferred her ruling on compensation to the three applicants Kathryn Gill, Diane Dawson and Ann Sanders who represented the class, pending submissions from the parties.
The global health crisis involving these products has had a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of women whose lives were put on hold as they dealt with what many have described as unbearable pain.
In the wake of today’s decision, thousands of Australian women could now bring individual claims for compensation.
Shine Lawyers’ Special Counsel for Class Actions Rebecca Jancauskas, who launched the action on behalf of the affected women, said about today’s victory: “It is a win for women who have faced a hard-fought battle against one of the world’s biggest companies and an agonising wait for a result in their favour.”
“Many women have felt alone in their suffering and will be so encouraged by today’s victory. We’re proud to let these women know that justice has been achieved on their behalf.”
“The compensation will help women pay their ongoing medical bills, allow them to access rehabilitation therapies and provide financial support as many struggle with daily living and job security as they are so unwell,” explained Ms Jancauskas.
Women are still able to join the class action
“The crucial message today is that there is still time for women affected by these implants to come forward and seek access to compensation for the injury and loss they’ve suffered,” said Ms Jancauskas.
“If you think you may have been impacted by a faulty pelvic mesh or tape implant, I encourage you to register in the class action so that you have an opportunity to seek financial restitution for the pain you’ve endured,” she continued.
Contact the Shine Lawyers Mesh Hotline at 1800 884 139 or click here to find out more information.
The action was heard in the Federal Court in Sydney by Her Honour Justice Anna Katzmann. The 28-week trial began in July 2017 and judgement has been reserved since February 2018.
As many as 8000 Australian women are thought to have been impacted by the defective pelvic mesh systems, which are surgically implanted to fix pelvic floor damage that causes, amongst other things, stress urinary incontinence and prolapse.
To date, more than 1350 women have registered to take part in Shine Lawyers’ Class Action.
Senate report was released in March 2018 following an inquiry into pelvic mesh devices. It recommended that doctors report all adverse effects of mesh implantation, a registry for all high-risk implantable devices, improved monitoring schemes of these devices and more government agency oversight over product registrations and approvals.
The TGA banned pelvic mesh from sale in Australia in November 2017 and required incontinence tapes to display increased warnings from January 2018.
Johnson & Johnson has withdrawn some transvaginal mesh and tape products from the Australian market; however, some products are still being sold.
More than 100,000 American women who were implanted with J&J devices started legal action in the US and most of these claims have now been settled.
Similar claims remain on foot in other countries including England & Wales, Canada, Scotland and Ireland.