Dunfee Awarded $500k in Philadelphia Prolift Case

Jane Akre
July 2, 2019

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, July 2, 2019 ~ It is the smallest jury compensation so far, but on Friday June 28, Linda and Thomas Dunfee were successful in their product liability case against Johnson & Johnson over her Prolift pelvic organ prolapse implant.

It was another Friday verdict in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. This time the jury decided Linda Dunfee should receive $500,000 in her pelvic mesh case against Johnson & Johnson, and its Ethicon device division.

This was the 9th time jurors decided the Ethicon mesh was defective in design and manufacture and that the defective design was the cause of Mrs. Dunfee's injuries. There was no money awarded for a loss of consortium claim by Mr. Dunfee and the jury decided that punitive damages were not warranted.

North Jersey. com Slater and Prolift mesh at trial

Prolift kit

This is the smallest award so far in this venue in pelvic mesh cases filed against Ethicon.  The April trial of Mrs. McFarland topped the awards so far at $120 million.

Many of the trials in that venue so far have been filed by women implanted with Prolift, which is a polypropylene implant that shores up the pelvic floor.

As it usually does, Ethicon said it will file an appeal.

While Ethicon says it empathizes with women who experience medical complications, its the website reported the verdict is inconsistent with the science and Ethicon’s actions.

In this case, Prolift worked as intended and effectively addressed the pelvic organ prolapse.”

Backgroud on Dunfee

Eli Robertson, Kline Specter

Dunfee was 61 years old when she was implanted with Prolift pelvic floor mesh, June 18, 2007 in Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia by Carl Della Badia D.O. and Timothy B. McKinney MD. She underwent explant surgery April 9, 2015 at the McKinney Teaching in Turnsrsville, NJ.

Linda Dunfee and her husband Thomas filed the action in October 2015. They are both from New Jersey, the home state of J&J. which was heard in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Ms Dunfee’s attorneys are Elia A. Robertson and Philip Pasquarello of Kline & Specter.

She is a former assistant Philadelphia district attorney who works in the area of personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice and sexual assault. Robertson has been the co-counsel in three of the firms largest recent mesh related trials, most recently in the $120 million in the McFarland trial from April of this year.

Kline Specter has won more transvaginal mesh cases in product liability trials than any other law firm. So far the Philadelphia based law firm has secured $346.16 million for its plaintiff clients with two cases in which Ethicon secured a win.

Ethicon Wants Out of Philadelphia

In May, Ethicon filed a 21-page motion to have the pelvic mesh trials moved out of the venue outside of Philadelphia or have a “pretrial cooling off period” before any more trials get underway.

Still ahead are about 85 pelvic mesh cases pending in this Philadelphia court, most naming Ethicon as the defendant.

The Legal Intelligencer reports that Ethicon accused law firm Kline & Specter of “false, slated and inflammatory” publicity.

“Defendants are entitled to a trial by impartial jurors based on the evidence adduced at trial, not by a jury inflamed by plaintiff’s counsel outside the bounds of the courtroom,” Ethicon said in the motion. “Accordingly, defendants ask the court to fashion relief for the upcoming trials—either by transferring the cases outside the five-county media market, or by having a pretrial cooling-off period, during which plaintiffs’ counsel should be instructed not to stir up additional press coverage.”

In March, Ethicon tried to block Judge Kenneth Powell from presiding over any more pelvic mesh trials in that Philadelphia court.

The company argued he was conflicted because his mother was involved in a lawsuit against J&J over its blood thinner Xarelto. The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court denied that request. Powell presided over McFarland v Ethicon, which in April yielded he largest verdict so far in this venue $120 million.

There have been four Prolift trials so far in this venue – Mesigian ($80 million); Emmet ($41 million); Beltz ($2.16 million); and Hammons ($12.5 million).

The Prolift prolapse repair mesh has previously been found to be defectively designed. It was quietly removed from the market by Ethicon in mid 2012 instead of conduct post-approval monitoring studies mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Taking it off the market relieved the company of conducting the review of women's health after a Prolift mesh implant. ###


Mesh News Desk, Mesh Trials so Far

Jump to Comments
No items found.

Related to this Article: