The Department of Justice is reviewing a request to investigate Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) over destruction of potential evidence in a civil matter.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson: Destruction of documents at issue

While Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) had dismissed the destroyed documents as “inadvertent loss of certain, limited documents,” those fighting the company on the issue regarding pelvic implants accused of harming women have a different view.

“We view Johnson & Johnson’s dismissal of the thousands of documents destroyed as a slap in the face to every woman suffering,” said Corporate Action Network (CAN) spokeswoman Levana Layendecker. “Johnson & Johnson needs to be held accountable as part of a larger war on women that stretches from Congress to the corporate boardroom. These women don’t need evasive responses by Johnson & Johnson’s executives, they need help, now,” she added.

Corporate Action Network is a nonprofit group with the goal to “hold businesses accountable for their actions.” The group had written to Attorney General Eric Holder to look into whether New Brunswick, N.J-based Johnson & Johnson and its CEO, Alex Gorsky, committed the crimes of obstructing justice and destroying records in a federal probe.

Pelvic implants caused pain, infections and bleeding

The popular implants in questions used to boost sagging pelvic organs, an issue common in older women and those who’ve had children.  The problem causes embarrassing bladder leaks when they laugh, sneeze or lift heavy objects.  More than 22,000 women have filed a class action suit, blaming Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) for crippling pain, infections and bleeding as a result of the implants.

Yesterday, activists with the Corporate Action Network (CAN) delivered a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) launch a criminal probe into Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) for their destruction of thousands of documents related to women who have been injured by pelvic mesh implants.  Johnson & Johnson’s destruction of evidence may also be violating a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice. By close of business yesterday the DOJ issued a statement that they are reviewing and considering CAN’s request.

“Johnson & Johnson dismissing the thousands of documents destroyed about the women they may have hurt is insulting,” added Layendecker. As multidistrict litigation filed on behalf of over 12,000 women seeking reparations for injuries resulting from Johnson & Johnson pelvic mesh implants ramps up in West Virginia, survivors and advocacy groups have simultaneously launched an aggressive campaign against the corporation and its top executives.

The campaign launches on the heels of a judgment made by a New Jersey court awarding $11.1 million to a 47-year-old nurse who had suffered chronic pain and health complications as a result of an implantation of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)’s Gynecare Prolift pelvic mesh and endured 18 surgical procedures to adjust and remove the device.