Plaintiff Alleges that J&J Did Not Study Transvaginal Mesh’s Dangers Thoroughly
The first transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation’s (MDL) bellwether trial, a personal injury lawsuit brought forth by 47-year-old Linda Gross, had closing arguments on February 15th, after five weeks of debate and deliberation.
The plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson is the first of 1,800 similar lawsuits in the MDL to go to trial. Gross’s case is being used as a bellwether trial, to determine roughly how the other lawsuits against the medical manufacturer will play out.
Five other transvaginal mesh MDLs against different manufacturers will also go to trial soon.
Gross’s attorneys showed the jurors emails from Johnson & Johnson executives regarding the Prolift transvaginal mesh device, as well as re-playing video depositions alleging that Ethicon – J&J’s subsidiary responsible for manufacturing the transvaginal mesh device – repeatedly ignored reports of complications and pushed the product onto market without adequate testing or approval from the FDA.
Gross’s legal team showed that executives from Ethicon repeatedly ignored the concerns of at least one doctor regarding the Prolift transvaginal mesh device. Ethicon’s executives, in emails, repeatedly told the concerned doctor that (1) They respected the doctor’s opinion; and (2) Should get back to the doctor in the interest of understanding his concerns.
The plaintiff’s attorney also replayed testimony from one of Ethicon’s executives, Scott Ciarrocca, who stated that Ethicon and J&J executives were motivated to push the transvaginal mesh devices through the FDA’s 510(k) process as quickly as possible, in order to beat one of their competitors to the market.
“They were rushing to market, and in the rush, they threw aside the rules, they threw aside the need to go to 510(k),” the attorney said.
Linda Gross has suffered serious personal injury due to the transvaginal mesh implant she received in 2006. “She can no longer sit comfortably for more than a few minutes without having to either stand up or lay down to try to reduce the level of pain,” Gross’s attorneys said in court papers filed in Atlantic City. “She requires various daily medications to treat her severe chronic pain.” Gross has endured 18 subsequent operations to remove the transvaginal mesh, with minimal success, and no decrease in her pain.
The plaintiff’s attorney also cited testimony from Gross’s surgeon alleging that he would not have implanted the transvaginal mesh device in his patient, had he fully understood the associated risks.
Transvaginal Mesh Manufacturer J&J Argues That They Adequately Warned of Risks
Christy Jones, a company lawyer representing Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon in the bellwether trial, says that Ethicon designed the transvaginal mesh device properly, and adequately warned about potential risks associated with the devices.
She urged jurors in the Atlantic City trial to reject Gross’s personal injury lawsuit.
“Prolift has been studied and studied extensively,” Jones said today in her closing argument. “It is not a defective or unreasonably dangerous product. Our position is that Prolift is a safe and effective product, that Ethicon adequately warned doctors of the risks, that doctors knew of the risks.”
Ethicon pulled the Prolift and a few other transvaginal mesh models off the market in June 2012, alleging low sales numbers. They admitted no defects in their product, and would not reimburse customers. The recall was voluntary – after a long struggle with the FDA for approval, the Prolift device finally passed the 510(k) process in May 2008.
The jury is now out to deliberate on Linda Gross’s transvaginal mesh personal injury lawsuit.
The Strom Law Firm Understands Personal Injury Lawsuits, Including Against Transvaginal Mesh Manufacturers
If you or a loved one have had surgery involving transvaginal mesh, and have since suffered painful side effects including bleeding, infection, organ perforation, and constant pain in the lower extremities, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the suffering caused by defective devices like transvaginal mesh, and can help with your case. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss your concerns, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.