Ethicon on Hot Seat in California Courtroom Perry v Ethicon Begins

Jane Akre
January 26, 2015
Abbrevo from Ethicon brochure

Abbrevo from Ethicon brochure

This is the second trial so far this year that puts healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson and its medical device subsidiary, Ethicon, on trial over its controversial polypropylene pelvic mesh.

In this case, Coleen Perry, 50, was implanted with the J&J/Ethicon Abbrevo mesh sling to treat her incontinence on March 23, 2011.

The Abbrevo is still on the market.

Injuries from the Abbrevo include, but are not limited to, “mesh erosion, contraction, infection, fistula, inflammation, scar tissue, organ perforation, dyspareunia, blood loss, acute and chronic nerve damage and pain, pudendal nerve damage, pelvic floor damage, chronic pelvic pain, urinary and fecal incontinence, and prolapse of organs.”

Her trial is being heard in Bakersfield, California, the same state venue where Christine Scott won her pelvic mesh lawsuit against C.R. Bard in 2012. See background story here.

[Coleen M. Perry and Patrick Perry v. Hung T. Luu, M.D.; Johnson & Johnson, a New Jersey Corporation; Ethicon, Inc., a New Jersey Corporation; and Does 1-60.]

Mesh Medical Device News Desk (MND) is following the trial through a streaming video feed provided by Courtroom View Network! Thank you! Images from CVN will not be allowed to be posted on MND.

Case 1:13-cv-00729-AWI-JLT

Judge Lorna Brumfield, Metropolitan Division, Superior Court of California, Kern Co.

The complaint (Perry Petition PDF) lists seven causes of action, including Failure to Warn, Design Defect, Negligence, and Loss of Consortium.

The actions include a medical malpractice claim against Dr. Hung. T. Luu, the gynecologist who implanted the Abbrevo in Ms. Perry; and an action against the sales force that sold the Abbrevo, the "Does 1-60" so named because not all of their identities are known. They are accused of "deceptive advertisements and high-pressure sales techniques," according to the complaint.

Mesh News Desk cannot show images of those appearing in this trial or quote from what is said for the purposes of displaying it on social media.

The Plaintiff

Ms. Perry had the implant March 23, 2011, in Bakersfield, California at San Joaquin Community Hospital. She had her first revision surgery January 17, 2012 to correct mesh erosions.

She lives in Tehachapi, California, 35 miles East/ SE of Bakersfield. Her husband, Patrick, has been a firefighter in Los Angeles for 32 years. Ms. Perry had done restaurant and catering work. She later went to cosmetology school.

She was a healthy woman with normal female issues, it was established on the first day of this trial including, excessive bleeding, increased blood pressure, weight gain, and high cholesterol. As a treatment she relied on exercise and diet and did not take medications.

To treat a heavy menstrual cycle, she had a cryoablation, but had no surgery before that. She smoked one to four cigarettes a week socially, no more than 10 a week said Mr. Cartmell. She and her husband liked to hike, run, walk and do yard work. She did yoga. At first, Ms. Perry used pads to correct her stress urinary incontinence in 2008 and 2009. She reports she never lost the pain after the Abbrevo implant and having sex felt like glass poking into her vagina. Her husband felt something which turned out to be a mesh erosion.


Thomas Cartmell, Wagstaff, Cartmell

Thomas Cartmell, Wagstaff, Cartmell

The same law firms and lawyers trying this case for the plaintiffs –Matthews & Associates, Freese & Goss, Peter De La Cerda, Tom Cartmell – won a $1.2 million verdict (Batiste case here) against Johnson & Johnson in a transvaginal mesh sling case tried in Dallas last year. Stewart Albertson of Albertson & Davidson LLP is local counsel.

Kim Schmid, Ethicon attorney

Kim Schmid, Ethicon attorney

Later this morning an attorney for defendant Ethicon, Kim M. Schmid, (of Bowman and Brooke LLP of Minneapolis here) listed the pre-existing conditions that affected Ms. Perry- prolapse both stress urinary and urge incontinence, the fact that she smoked, had high blood pressure, allergies, and that she had not held a full-time job since the mid 1990's.

Other attorneys for the defendant include William Gage and Burt Snell of Butler Snow LLP and by Soo Lin and Joshua Wes of Tucker Ellis LLP.

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