Jo and Allen Huskey
Mesh Medical Device News Desk, October 4, 2017~ Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon division has just exhausted its final appeal of the Huskey's pelvic mesh verdict of $3.27 million, ending five years of litigation.
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will not hear the Ethicon appeal of the product liability trial of Jo Huskey and her husband.
That was the last bite of the apple for the healthcare giant.
Ms. Huskey's attorneys were Fidelma Fitzpatrick and Ed Wallace, who had this to say to MND,
"Several years ago we started on a journey to simply make sure that Ethicon acknowledged it caused Jo Huskey harm and if Ethicon refused, we wanted to make sure that Ethicon was held accountable. Jo Huskey was one of tens of thousands of women that had filed claims in West Virginia, she was now a number on a legal docket, and it was unclear if her case would ever see a courtroom. Somehow her case was selected as a “bellwether” case and suddenly Jo was thrust into the national spotlight.
Ed Wallace, attorney for Jo Huskey
"Jo has handled herself admirably. Every nook and cranny of her life was examined, and when something happened in her case, Jo would not only ask how this affected her and her family, she also wanted to know how the other women like her were affected by whatever happened in her case. That careful and caring attitude has remained the same throughout the case and all the way up the Supreme Court. I’ve spoken with her and she wants everyone to know how she grateful she is for the well wishes and is glad to see that the Courts have done the right thing. And now, Ethicon has finally been held accountable. Finally."
In 2014, Huskey v. Ethicon (2:12-cv-05201) was heard in Charleston, West Virginia before Judge Goodwin.
The jury awarded her damages totaling $3.27 million. This was the first bellwether pelvic mesh case naming Ethicon to go to trial in this multidistrict litigation where presently there are more than 104,000 cases filed.
Huskey on the stand with Christy Jones, August 28, 2014
The litigation concluded with compensatory damages and a decision that her pelvic mesh, a TVT-O, was defective.
Ethicon appealed the verdict, first to Judge Goodwin. He refused to throw out the verdict. Ethicon would not be deterred and took the case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals but it too rejected Ethicon’s arguments. The appeals court also affirmed the TVT-O had a defective design.
Find the Fourth Circuit decision here.
Dusting itself off once again, Ethicon appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate court decision. It was the same move J&J tried in the pelvic mesh $11.1 million verdict in the 2013 mesh trial of Linda Gross. In that case as well, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Ethicon had planned to argue that TVT-O was cleared through the FDA’s 510(k) process so it had followed requirements to market, and that the Prolene suture, which makes up the TVT-O also had FDA clearance and a history of safe use.
Ethicon had also argued that the Huskey's failed to prove that a specific defect of the TVT-O design caused her harm, such as a heavyweight polypropylene mesh.
Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Motley Rice
The Huskey case was the second to find the TVT-O was defectively designed. In April, 2014, a Dallas jury awarded Linda Batiste $1.1 million over her TVT-O, with jurors deciding the polypropylene sling used to treat incontinence was defectively designed.
Ethicon will have to save that argument for another day. ###
Huskey had proven by the preponderance of the evidence, defective design, a failure to warn, strict liability and negligence in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its division, Ethicon.
She was awarded:
$100, 000 – Reasonable medical costs
$470,000 – Past pain and suffering, mental anguish
$2.5 Million – pain, suffering, mental anguish, disability, loss enjoyment of life now and in the future.
$200,000 – Loss of consortium Mr. Huskey
= $3.27 million
MND, Huskey case going to the Supreme Court? June 2017
MND Huskey Transvaginal mesh $3.27 Million Award Affirmed by Appeals Court, February 2017,
US Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit, January 26, 2017
MND, Linda Gross $11.1 Million Jury Verdict Survives Final J&J Challenge, December 6, 2016
MND, Coverage of Huskey Trial