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J&J Hit With $20 M Verdict in 3rd Philadelphia Pelvic Mesh Trial

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, April 28, 2017 ~ In the last 15 months  J&J and its Ethicon medical device division has accrued $34.5 million in punitive damages over its transvaginal meshes.

Another 200 cases await trial in this Philadelphia courtroom and hundreds are poised in a Bergen, New Jersey court ready for trial.

The three-week transvaginal mesh trial of Engleman v. Ethicon (140305384)  concluded in a Philadelphia court Friday afternoon with a $20 verdict for Ms. Peggy Engleman, 56 of Cinnaminson, PA.

The jury awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages for the complications she suffered from the TVT-Secur transvaginal tape used to treat incontinence after being implanted in 2007.

Jurors also hit Ethicon with $17.5 million in punitive damages, the highest amount of punitive damages awarded so far among the transvaginal mesh cases heard in this court.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

Jurors decided TVT-Secur was defectively designed and the instructions were inadequate and the device maker failed to warn the doctors and patients about its potential dangers.

The TVT-Secur (TVT-S) is a polypropylene mesh “hammock” that cradles the urethra to treat incontinence. It is tethered in place with two arms that extend up through the buttocks.

TVT-S was cleared for market in 2006 without any clinical trials through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) clearance process.

It was removed from the market voluntarily by J&J in mid-2012 along with three other problematic pelvic meshes. The company said it was for financial reasons. See MND story here.

Engleman v. Ethicon began April 10 before Judge Ann Butchart of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. It was the first transvaginal mesh trial in this court in 14 months.

Chris Gomez, Kline Specter

Ms. Engleman was represented by Christopher Gomez of Kline Specter, Ben Anderson of Anderson Law and Bryan Aylstock of Aylstock Witkin Kreiz and Overholtz.

Representing Johnson & Johnson/ Ethicon was Jim Campbell, Rita Maimbourg and Burt Snell of Butler Snow.

This is the third in a series of Johnson & Johnson losses in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

In the previous cases, Hammons and Carlino, heard in the same court in December 2015 and February 2016, delivered a $12.5 million verdict and $13.5 million to the plaintiffs, respectively, which included $17 million in punitive damages.

With today’s verdict, J&J is facing $34.5 million in punitive damages from three transvaginal mesh trials recently heard in this court.

Bruce Rosemzweog. MD, Expert for Plaintiff

Testimony for the plaintiff included Dr. Bruce Rosenzweig, who told jurors that polypropylene mesh will degrade, fray and lose particles. It can cause chronic foreign body reactions, fibotic ridging, mesh contracture/shrinkage and loss of pore size with tension.

Dr. Rosenzweig, a urogynecologist from Rush University in Chicago, has been an expert  in a number of previous transvaginal mesh trials.

No information was included in this case about the role the Food and Drug Administration plays in clearing transvaginal mesh for market through the fast-track 510(k) approval process.

The Philadelphia Court has nearly 200 transvaginal mesh cases waiting to heard primarily naming defendants Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific.

There are 102,000 product liability lawsuits consolidated in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia naming six defendant mesh makers, J&J and Boston Scientific among them.

DETAILS ABOUT THE TRIAL

Ben Anderson tells Mesh News Desk that the jury was made up of four men and eight women of varying ages. There were two Caucasians, an Asian and the rest were African-American.

After experiencing incontinence, Ms. Engleman received the TVT-S in 2007 but within one month she reportedly had a return of her condition. She also began experiencing pain and discomfort when her mesh device eroded into her vagina.

Doctors were unable to remove the TVT-S during the three surgeries she endured.

Today, she still has urinary dysfunction, pelvic floor spasms and vaginal pain.

CBS News (here) quoted Engleman as saying, “I’m happy I could be a voice for other women, It’s been a nightmare, and I feel justice was truly served today.” 

Testimony at trial revealed TVT-Secur was tested on live sheep and dead sheep, cadavers and 31 women for five weeks before it was rushed to market.

Trying to improve on TVT (tension-free tape) the TVT-S is considered a mini-tape since it is shorter than a typical incontinence device. Anderson says it was completely different because it came with fleece tips like velcro that had never been used before and arrowhead introducers. The polypropylene mesh material is heavy weight and small pore.

Ethicon’s own documents were the most powerful.  It said “Our cardinal sin was to rush to market without sufficient clinical data.”

Ms. Engleman’s ob-gyn and urogynecologist both blamed her injuries on the TVT-S. TVT-S and three other

 

Dr. Francois Haab, French Consultant for J&J

70% FAILURE  RATE

Some of the most damaging testimony came from the Ethicon consultant Dr. Haab who wrote in an article “Promises Made-Promises Broken” (here) that the failure rate of TVT-S was 70%.

Dr. Haab was a consultant for Gynecare, the women’s health division of Johnson & Johnson.

In that study almost 40% of the women participating suffered serious adverse events with the device. Ethicon/ J&J never published the study.

When J&J preceptor Brian Flynn was asked if J&J ever shared the data, he said No.

Ben Anderson, Anderson Law

Anderson asked, “Was it important?”  “Yes.”

The report said the TVT-Secur cannot be recommended for a first-line treatment.”

Anderson asked Flynn, “Did they share this with you?”   “No.”  Was it important? “Yes.”

Anderson tells MND that Flynn appeared shocked. Sitting on the stand before the jury was a watershed movement when he first learned about the existence of this document.

Anderson pointed to an empty chair during his closing arguments pointing out that the company, though only 100 miles away, failed to put a single representative on the stand to defend their product. He pointed to the empty chair during the closing.

“When the jury saw the amount of information on serious health risks to women that existed before it was ever launched, they decided there was clear and convincing evidence that Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson maliciously and with wanton disregard for women put this device on the market, that they put profits before people and they deserved to be punished,” said Anderson. 

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32 Comments

  1. Anon says:

    👍👍 🙂 All MDL cases need to be moved to Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas where they get it done. MDL West Virginia is a joke.

  2. Anon says:

    Jane you omitted the New Jersey cases pending. I can’t fathom how JNJ would think we would except a tiny insulting settlement for the hell we’ve been through. I do know that my lawfirm is finally been dirrected to gather my records so something more than the 4 1/2 years of nothing that has happened other than me going through total hell. 4 surgeries pain infection UTI after UTI until my doctor finally put me on a antibiotic for well over a year. Loss of a great carreer my relationship unemployed close to losing a house Ive paid on for 22 years. All I have to say is they better get very serious about being realistic about what our lives are worth. Because I personally won’t take some little rediculasn amount for them taking the best years of my life and my future. I will go out screaming but I absolutely won’t take thier little charity amounts Ive been hearing rumor of. I will go to the grave before I let them do this without seeing some form of justice. They may try and humiliate me in court but they can not humiliate me any more than Ive already endured. I am in my early 50’s had this Prolift and TVT done in 2006. I really thought it was good at first but started having issues probably 5 years in. Of coarse it was not the mesh. So sick of the doctors the ignorance the being treated like some crazy hypocondriact. I now wear basically diapers. And as far as being degraded try completely soaking yourself at work or in a public place or wetting the bed like a todler. I am not sure they can ever fix that. Won’t know for a while because I have no insurance to see a doctor now. Ive been very verbal with my lawfirm not sure he takes me serious but I warned him I will not settle for little of nothing. It’s not worth me selling my soul for. These manufacturing companies CEO’s and higher ups have sold themselves to the devil. The root of all evil is money. All I want is some fairness and financial help for them ruining my life. Why should we have to shut up when they are the ones who knowingly ruined so many lives.

    • Kitty says:

      Anon. I agree with u. My belief is that women that received their settlements should keep their mouths shut. It is disturbing to many of us who are suffering and being shamed. Take your money and get out of dodge instead of peddling your advice. Hope u print this Jane…too much censorship.

    • Vicky Lee says:

      May I ask what amounts are rumored to have been given so far? I have heard of no one getting anything.

  3. Stop mesh implants says:

    So happy to read about this verdict. Relieved for Ms. Engelman and her legal team. Now she can begin to move on with her life. I still believe the truth will come out someday. It is this news that restores my faith that people will understand our “mesh hell” and those who promoted these life altering mesh products will suffer some legal consequences.
    Thank you , Jane. This is wonderful news.

    • Diva64 says:

      Mesh Truth, appears will only be heard here, our organizations, courtrooms, and places like N.I.H. And other medical science studies. While researching or looking for the WHY in this horrible MESH MESS and why so many of us our suffering having had our lives ruined, live pretty much in constant pain, infection, been humiliated by E.R. ,OB-GYN doctors, is beyond any scope of the imagination. This has been going on at least since in the it’s with enough complaints of health problems to recall Mesh that had first been approved. But that did not include all the other Mesh that slid through that did not have to go through approval . There is no way that the Government or Medical Schools did not know of the situation with Mesh, the health problems caused by it or the need to educate and train, Dr.PA, radiologist all what to look for.
      As I go into my 11th year of pain, seeking treatment for this pain, my life becoming less and less, depression increasing, being pretty much shut down from Facebook because I speak out against Mesh, having my I.P. address tracked, my phone my computer all infilitatrated with viruses. Limiting everything I can do from home. I still seek answers, and this week end learned that not have not been enough for the Mesh Manufactures, they have included mesh for penile implants in Sadi Arabia. Mesh , lives for profitt they do not care about people yet promote their companies as Manfactures of Medical Devices. THEY SHOULD HAVE TO PAY US EACH $11 MILLIOM. NOT $40 THOUSAND WHICH IS WHAT THESE MILLIONS DEVIDED UP AMONG 200 CASES or so divided out to. Then the attorney gets nearly half. Medicare & Medicaid want a portion or all insurance companies. Why would any Goverment Insurance think they are entitled to a penny from our suffering. It was the Goverment that allowed this to happen. The same Goverment that the Supreme Court’s operate under which has delayed hearing, for years I guess hoping we will pass on and our families won’t pursue anything. That our attorneys won’t be able to contact anyone.
      I wonder where it all ends. There are or seems to be more regulations on how high the grass in your yard grows, getting permits to cut a tree, painting your house a particular color. Than on the medical products hitting the market.
      I am trying one final doctor, This doctor will have no excuses besides Medicare does not pay enough for him/her to help me. If no help, I am going back on pain medication, selling everything I still have and leaving the U.S. the place that allowed this to happen to me to all of us, that continues to allow it. I am tired of sitting in my house in pain, having no life. I deserve better each of us do.

  4. Linda R says:

    Now the appeal will come 1,2, and 3. Still no media coverage other than Jane. I am thankful for the success of this trial and they must of had great representation… but why no coverage? It is adding up to a lot of wins, money and punitive damages, yet where is the coverage. I watch the big corporation settling sexual harassment case for millions. It’s on every news station and those women deserve compensation!! Yet our vagina’s are ripped up, inflamed, re-built and continue to have medical and emotional trauma. They are proposing pennies and not even a bit of media coverage. They even block Jane’s feed. All I can say is WTF!!!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Im not sure about blocking any feeds…. the appeal will come BUT it will eventually be exhausted. Linda Gross is about to receive her $11.1!!! so have four others. There were two stations covering the Engleman story. so that is a very big deal… Look for the links inside the story.

      • Angela says:

        Everyday I get weaker, it’s affected my organs , splendid burst , got bowel infection , lost blood , almost died , can’t walk , 2012 sling put in, 2014 took out , to late poisoned me , mental hospital wanted to die , not Abel to do anything In bed so week 20 of 24 , only a hull laying dreaming of what I could do ,, been no word on judgment in four years , need money for help to get help very sick . Fading away

  5. JB says:

    How do you proceed with a law firm putting deadline on pittance they offered saying it is all I will get as they don’t know if and when it will go for any other settlement? I need help as the law firm/s IS not on our side/s. Somebody, please advise as this has went on and on with very limited contact from firm and then you get no support/answers.

    • Annonymous K says:

      JB I had to go to a new lawfirm as mine fired me since I would not take the settlement offer that J&J offered all they wanted me to do was settle for pennies and I felt what I have been through the numerous surgeries to try to remove this mesh mess and my life was worth more than what J&J was offering. If your law firm will not work for you either have them fire you as a client so you have no more ties to them or you can fire them and find a new lawyer just dont call those 1-800 numbers or you will get another firm that will not work for you! Good luck and I hope this works out for you!

  6. I am so happy for Ms. Engleman! Let’s hope we all get justice!

    I was implanted with a Gynecare TVT in 2005. I had a partial removal as the doctor couldn’t get it all. I’m tired of smelling like piss, I am tired of my legs, groin and lower abdominal pain. I know I need additional surgery, but I am scared to death that I will be worse, rather than better. Does J&J really think that continuing with these suits is a better plan than settling? I see that there is now 400 more plaintiff’s in Wave 6 and I am not one of them.

    • Vicky Lee says:

      How can you look and see if you are in a “wave” I would like to look for my name! Thank you

      • tiredofwating says:

        Go on the MDL website and look at the orders and you’ll find wave 6. Open up the order and there are the names of the 400.

        • Pam says:

          How do u find out Mel wave 6
          I went under Mdl listings
          Not sure 2hat I’m looking at
          Thanks in advance

  7. Kitty says:

    Thank you Jane…yes..I see it was reported on Philly News stations. Very comprehensive reports.

  8. Mary says:

    Jane!
    Thank you for all you have done for me! You have kept me inform through the Transvaginal Mesh Ordeal! My law frim has finally call to say that my settlement has come through. I’m excited but I also know that this isn’t enough money but… It will help! Thank you for being here! Regards Becky

  9. MeshSurvivor says:

    Talk about having your life ruined; I was 28 when I was implanted and only married for a year before my life went down the toilet. I am now 33 and have been dealing with this for 5 years to the date. The day I was released from the hospital is when all my problems started. I had many UTI’s that nobody could ever explain when I have never had a UTI in my life. Pain that my obgyn blamed on everything other than what it was. I had my mesh erode and physically come out of my body. After many surgeries and contacting every doctor I know that could potentially help me, my options have run out and I am still left with mesh inside me because no doctor will take a chance at removing the rest due to fatal complications that could arise. I am left with severe nerve damage and so many other ailments, it isn’t even funny. My bladder is a mess, I still leak, I am still in immense pain but I get up everyday and try to battle through it. I have an amazing law firm that is doing what they can for me but I don’t think it will ever be enough. I am permanently disabled and can no longer work, my relationship is falling through the cracks and I am a mess mentally/emotionally. I am happy to read about this verdict though I know it will probably get appealed because they seem to do it everytime. I am hoping that these manufacturers will start taking the hint and just start settling or these cases will never get resolved. Judges also need to start laying the hammer down and say no more putting these cases off and start pushing them through one after another as promised earlier in the year and last year. A question for the manufacturers, knowing the risks of these devices, would they have their spouse/daughter/sister/mother/etc with this stuff? My guess would be no

    • Kitty says:

      SUEVIVOR.It seems the Uro Gyn do stick together and it is rare that they will ever tell u the mesh was the problem. If you want valedation u need to get it from your eye Dr or Foot Dr or maybe Neurologist…and maybe…maybe PT. You are so young I am so sorry for u. The old gray mares have been put to pasture without the grass.

  10. Diva64 says:

    The date that is missing is 1990 ‘s Jane. I hope you can insert it for me.and hopefully catch any areas that it look like this other android phone auto corrected

  11. mia says:

    i called my attorney today, to ask questions, a few months ago they told me they wanted to settle by september, now it will be another year because there not not happy with the money johnson and johnson wants to pay us women well maybe we dont want millions of dollors, we will all continue to grow older and we will never see any money but the lawyers will… when will it ever be enough we dont all live like millionairs like they do so really the money is for them the attorneys not us. we will never see a dime, but it will be a good retirement for them paid for by all us women who are suffering.. its the truth

  12. Waiting for Justice says:

    Anon stated above ” MDL West Virginia is a joke”. You are so right it is a total joke. What good is it doing to have our cases just sitting there doing nothing while we wait, wait, wait and suffer hoping to hear some positive news to cling to. Judge if you can’t get things moving and it seems you can’t, move them along to the state courts or step down and let another judge try. It’s OUR LIVES that hang in the balance not yours! This take forever pace is REDICULOUS!!!

    • Kelly says:

      I finally heard from my attorney today looks like they hope to settle within the next two weeks. If they don’t he said they have to get 50 witnesses for the case and it will take him a month to do this. It’s involving 6 law firms and 600 cases and one of them is mine. They had to send all our files over a month ago. I’m convinced that ethicin will settle because my attorney said they will end up paying more if he has to accrue expenses getting these witnesses together for trial. I’m hopeful first time I heard any good news since 2014 when I started my case with them.

      • Jen says:

        I got the same kind of news from my attorney and he gave me a low ball figure of what he expected their offer to be. I hope to God its true, Ive been waiting since I filed in 2011.

  13. Anon says:

    Yes well Johnson and Johnson is just fine with dragging it out. They can pay a few women here and there and continue to peddle there harmful products and make money on people to line there pockets. Unless they are hit very very hard with penalties which for a 70 billion dollar company would be alot. They are not going to take notice or change their way of doing business. They tout there dam moto of patients first. Put your money were your cedo is. Live by it instead of hiding behind the screen. Until our legal and government officials step up and force the changes it will never happen. Why should they change look at all the money they make off of people suffering. Yes they deserve their day in court as we do. The problem is its been proven in court and they are still not changing the way they do business. Then they give this tyrant CEO 21 million a year. Wow is all I can say. Well if he ever does jail time for his corrupt ways he can use that money to be put up in a fancy jail cell. Club Med.

  14. Anon says:

    Let these company CEO’s use their family and friends as ginea pigs instead of the unsuspecting public. If these products are so great and safe as they say they are then why not have their moms sisters daughters all have it done. I remember my Doctor tell me he just implanted his wife not long before my surgery in Jan of 06 with a prolift that we now know was not even submitted to the FDA until the FDA spotted the omission. So I wonder how my Doctors wife is these days. If she is still alive chances are she doesn’t have any quality of life.

  15. Angela g says:

    It made me so bad it wears me out sitting up in wheel chair to long .apendix burst , bowel infection . Waiting to go anytime , wish never done it .layeer didn’t answer last two calls , it don’t matter anymore

  16. Kelly says:

    I have so much pain every day. Lost my job in 2014, divorced and lost my home and a few apartments since than because I can’t keep a job because I have so many doctors appointments. I was diagnosed with Lupus and they said that could be as a result of this foreign substance in my body but because it can not be proven they do not base a decision on that and so since I only had one revision I am not sure what tier I am on. I was supposed to have ur removed by a doctor in St. Louis Missouri but I didn’t have 28,000.00 for surgery and expenses from the trip to get it done. I’m just glad that my attorney finally contacted me and told me what is going on but mind you I had to call him because he would never have contacted me otherwise. I think he has updated me twice since 2014. I’m going to be thankful for whatever I can get as God has a plan for me and I know that my suffering did not go in vain. I have been homeless numerous times since this happened to me but somehow by the grace of God I have made it through. I can only hope that all of you get good news. I’ll be praying for all of you.

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