Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon reached an agreement to settle 224 hernia mesh lawsuits in Georgia multidistrict litigation, according to court documents.

Plaintiffs claimed defects in Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite hernia mesh led them to develop complications such as recurrent hernias, mesh migration, infection, bleeding and pain.

Court documents don’t specify an exact settlement amount, but they state that the parties agreed to dismiss the cases and bear their own costs. Judge Richard W. Story signed the order to dismiss the cases on Dec. 1, 2023.

Previous settlement amounts in this litigation have also been confidential, which is typically a calculated strategy on the part of the defendant.

“Confidential settlements are mostly favored by defendants in an effort to avoid setting a floor for negotiation purposes with other litigants. If other unsettled litigants are unaware of the settlement values in a confidential settlement it increases the likelihood the defendant can settle for even less money down the road,” Trent Miracle, a product liability attorney and managing member of Flint Cooper’s mass torts practice, told Drugwatch.

Physiomesh Lawsuits Resolved After Over Six Years

Prior to this latest settlement, the MDL had been open for about six years. The Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation originally transferred Physiomesh hernia mesh cases into the MDL in June 2017.

Plaintiffs started filing lawsuits shortly after Ethicon issued a worldwide recall of the mesh devices in 2016. The company issued the recall after medical device registries showed Physiomesh had a higher hernia recurrence and revision rate.

This latest December 2023 settlement agreement appears to resolve all remaining Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite hernia mesh lawsuits in the MDL and New Jersey multicounty litigation.

At one time, Johnson & Johnson faced more than 4,000 Physiomesh lawsuits combined in the MDL and MCL.  

“This settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing and was agreed to in the best interests of all parties to avoid a prolonged legal process and allow us to continue to focus on helping patients, including those requiring hernia treatment, to live their best lives,” an Ethicon spokesperson said in a statement shared by Mass Device.

Close to 25,000 Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Remain in MDLs

Though Ethicon appears to have resolved the last of its hernia mesh cases, over 24,800 hernia mesh lawsuits are still pending against various companies across multiple MDLs, according to November 2023 MDL case number reports from the Panel of Multidistrict Litigation.

C.R. Bard/Davol, Inc. leads the pack with about 20,369 active cases pending in the Ohio MDL. The most recent bellwether trial, Stinson v. C.R. Bard, et al., ended in a loss for Bard, with the jury awarding $500,000 in damages to Aaron Stinson in November 2023.

Atrium and Covidien also face thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits in MDLs. The next bellwether trial against C.R. Bard is set to take place in April 2024.