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Johnson & Johnson Settles Several Power Morcellator Claims
On March 18, the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson & Johnson is moving quickly to settle suits involving its power morcellator device, which was pulled off the market in July 2014. According to the publication, settlement amounts have ranged from $100,000 to approximately $1 million.
What is a Power Morcellator?
A power morcellator is a surgical device used to cut benign growths known as fibroids into small pieces during a hysterectomy or myomectomy. The pieces of the fibroids are then removed through small incisions. Unfortunately, many women who underwent procedures using the power morcellator had undetected cancerous sarcomas in their uterus that appeared to be harmless fibroids. As a result, the morcellator not only cut up the fibroid, but also the sarcoma, dispersing cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen and pelvis.
Plaintiffs throughout the country filed suit against the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon, one of the companies that manufactures the power morcellator device. According to the article, Johnson & Johnson has settled approximately 70 of the estimated 100 cases that have either been prepared or filed. The company still faces other morcellator lawsuits pending in federal court and state courts.
Plaintiffs in the cases, according to the article, claim that Ethicon either knew that the morcellator could spread cancer throughout the body or should have known about the risk. Despite this, plaintiffs allege, the company failed to take appropriate action.
The Journal reported that the amounts of the settlements would likely vary depending on several factors. These include the age of the woman, her medical condition, the extent of her injuries, and whether or not she had children.