Jurors Begin Deliberating Philadelphia Prolift Pelvic Mesh Case

Jane Akre
December 17, 2015
Prolift on eBay July 2013

Prolift on eBay July 2013

The two-week trial of Hammons v. Ethicon case went to the jury Friday in the first pelvic mesh tried in Pennsylvania. The Indiana woman, Patricia Hammons, filed a product liability case against Ethicon, a subdivision of Johnson & Johnson over a Prolift pelvic mesh she received to treat incontinence in 2009. (Case No. 130503913). The case is being heard in the Court of Common Pleas, believed to be favorable to plaintiffs.

She contends her pelvic injuries are permanent and she has undergone numerous removal surgeries. The mesh has reportedly adhered to her bladder and cannot be removed. She has pain, infection and urinary and sexual dysfunction.

The jury in the fist Prolift case to go to trial in 2013, delivered a $11.1 million verdict to plaintiff Linda Gross. That case is still under appeal. Attorney Adam Slater who represented Ms. Gross also represents Ms. Hammons along with Shanin Specter of Kline & Specter.

The Legal Intelligencer (here) reports Judge Mark Bernstein adjourned court for the day by mid-afternoon Wednesday due to a fire alarm disruption and a protest by cabs and Uber drivers outside of City Hall. Closing arguments continued and wrapped-up Thursday.

shanin specter kline specter

"If there was a hall of fame for bad products, this would be in the lobby,” Specter told jurors.

The Prolift is one of the largest meshes ever made by J&J and its division Ethicon. It is delivered to doctors in a box with implanting devices called trocars. In mid-2012, the Prolift was removed from the market by J&J, allegedly for financial reasons. That relieved the company of having to conduct FDA-imposed three-year post-approval monitoring of the effects the mesh on implanted women.

The Hammons trial is the first among among Ethicon pelvic mesh cases to tell jurors about the issue of document destruction. Ethicon destroyed documents that were under a hold for litigation purposes.

Specter showed the box and its contents to the jurors. With a hook-shaped installation tools, they resemble a hooked arm. The company had no clue how to remove the device if it failed, jurors were told. While Ethicon says the mesh system works. Specter argued it turns a woman’s posterior organs inside out, shrinks and deforms the vagina in the process.

Still ahead in early 2016 are a series of defective pelvic mesh cases to be heard in this venue beginning January 11, 2016 with De la Cruz, v. Ethicon, January 26, 23016, Carlino v. Ethicon, February 22, McGee v. Ethicon and Navarro v. Ethicon to be heard March 21, 2006. See background story on Hammons trial here. #

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