Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Court approves $400m+ settlements for mesh class actions

After reaching settlements totalling over $400 million in 2022, compensation for thousands of Australian women who received pelvic mesh implants with significant complications has been court approved.

user iconLauren Croft 16 March 2023 Big Law
expand image

In class action claims dating back over a decade, Shine Lawyers have received court approval for two settlements following three class actions, after pelvic mesh implants were revealed to be “not fit for purpose” and caused “debilitating injuries”.

Both settlements were subject to court approval, which, in an announcement to the ASX on Thursday (16 March), Shine Lawyers confirmed.

The first class action commenced in October 2012 and culminated in a trial that ran over seven months starting in July 2017, in what was called “the largest women’s health class action in Australia’s history”.


At the time, Shine 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. It is estimated that over 12,000 women joined the class action.

In November 2019, Justice Anna Katzmann of the Federal Court of Australia found in favour of women impacted by pelvic mesh implants sold by Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, before the Federal Court ordered that class action members be compensated in April 2022.

In April 2021, Shine Lawyers filed a second class action against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of women who were impacted by the faulty mesh implants during different periods to those who fell under the first class.

The news followed the filing of separate proceedings by AJB Stevens Lawyers against Boston Scientific Corporation and Boston Scientific Pty Ltd on behalf of women who have suffered “debilitating injuries” caused by mesh implants that “were not of merchantable quality and did not have an acceptable quality”. These proceedings were filed in late March 2021 — and reached a settlement of $105 million in July 2022.

This settlement does not reflect any admission of misconduct or liability by Boston Scientific, nor has there been any finding of liability by the Court against them. Boston Scientific deny the allegations made in the class action. Despite this, Shine head of class actions Vicky Antzoulatos welcomed the court approval. 

“My hope is that this compensation will make a significant difference to the lives of those Australian  women who have experienced complications with their implants,” she said.

In September 2022, a $300 million settlement was reached in the two class actions against Johnson & Johnson and Ethical in an Australian first.

Ms Antzoulatos, added that the approval of this 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 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.  

Shine Justice welcomed the court approvals, which managing director and chief executive Simon Morrison said brings lengthy litigation in the class actions to an end and paves the way for the administration and distribution of the settlement funds.

“This has been an extraordinary journey for all the women impacted by these products, who are an inspiration to their families, friends and Shine. Our team worked tirelessly over more than a decade in the face of extraordinary challenges and maintained a resilience and determination to seek justice for all the affected women, who it has been our great privilege to represent,” he said.

“I am extremely proud of the Shine team. The mesh cases demonstrate our commitment and passion to right wrong, one case at a time, as do the many significant class actions currently underway and in the pipeline for our talented class actions team.”

Shine noted that the court has not yet made any decision about the conduct of the administration and distribution of the settlement funds as of yet and will make orders in relation to costs and disbursements at a later date, following a referral process expected to be conducted in the coming months.