After losing her trial in a Philadelphia State court, a pelvic mesh plaintiff has been granted a new damages hearing against Johnson & Johnson-subsidiary Ethicon.
By Laurence Banville
A woman from Ohio has won a second chance at securing damages in a pelvic mesh lawsuit, over one month after a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury handed down its judgment in favor of the device's manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson-subsidiary Ethicon. On July 19, 2017, Judge Michael Erdos granted the plaintiff, Kimberly Adkins, a new damages hearing, despite the jury deciding that Ethicon's mesh had not actually caused Adkins' full slate of claimed injuries.
Jury Finds Design Defect, Denies Link To InjuriesIn his one-page order, Judge Erdos noted an inconsistency in the jury's reasoning, according to Delaware Law Weekly. While jurors had determined that the pelvic mesh had been defectively designed, the order explains, they also found, curiously, that this design defect had not caused Adkins' injuries - a finding that contradicted expert testimony from both sides of the dispute.
Defense Expert Admits Mesh Harm At TrialAs Adkins wrote in her motion after the defense verdict was rendered, "even if the jury disbelieved plaintiff's testimony, found the testimony inconsistent or concluded plaintiff was exaggerating her injuries, the jury was not free to reject the undisputed consensus of both sides' experts and the treating physician that plaintiff suffered some injury from the implantation of the mesh."
In court documents, Adkins says that defense expert Dr. John Wagner had admitted in his testimony that Ethicon's pelvic mesh caused her a host of initial injuries. His only quibble? Adkins was claiming a group of other injuries, ones she was allegedly suffering from in the present, without sufficient evidence of the mesh's role.
54K Pelvic Mesh Lawsuits NationwideAdkins' case is the fifth to reach trial from a pelvic mesh litigation that includes thousands of other claims and has been largely coordinated in a Pennsylvania State court. But unlike the four previous trials, the case of Kimberly Adkins is the only suit yet to end in a verdict for the defense. To date, patients injured by pelvic mesh complications have secured over $48 million in compensation, including three individual judgments in excess of $12 million (in large part due to extraordinarily-high punitive damage awards).
Around the nation, more than 54,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson in relation to a range of pelvic mesh products, used primarily to repair pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
While Johnson & Johnson blamed market forces for its decision, the company chose to withdraw four popular pelvic mesh options from the US market in 2012. These products included the Gynecare TVT Secur system, the Gynecare Prosima, the Gynecare Prolift and the Gynecare Prolift+M, all sold under the Ethicon brand. Adkins herself received a TVT Secur mesh for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. The Philadelphia jury that heard her case determined both that the mesh had been defectively designed and that Ethicon had failed to warn the public of the product's risks.