Mesh Makers Want Non-Residents Ousted from Philadelphia Court

Jane Akre
July 11, 2017

SCOTUS, Wikipedia

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, July 11, 2017 ~ Pelvic mesh makers, Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific, want 97 transvaginal mesh plaintiffs ousted from Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on personal jurisdiction.

**NEW* As of Monday, July 10, the judge in the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri removed 20 talcum powder cases, citing a recent controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision on jurisdiction.


On June 19, a Missouri judge declared a mistrial in a lawsuit filed by the estates of three women who died, allegedly after long-term use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.

Nothing happened in the courtroom to cause the mistrial.

Instead, earlier the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a decision that dealt a blow to injured consumers and their ability to seek redress in the court of their choosing.

Harris Martin Publishing is reporting the latest here.

In an 8-1 vote, the Supreme Court decided that allowing plaintiffs to take their grievances to a favorable court when they don’t live in that state, was venue shopping.

See SCOTUS on Bristol Myers Squibb and BSNF Railway on personal jurisdiction.

The one dissenting vote, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, saw nothing wrong with it, noting that nothing is unfair about taking a massive corporation to court when the plaintiffs are made up of both resident and non-resident plaintiffs. After all, the product is sold nationwide.

Cheryl Ladd for J&J 1982

The reason the St. Louis judge declared the mistrial was that two of the three talcum powder plaintiffs were from another state. The trial was just beginning so the judge decided a mistrial would be easier than trying the case twice.

The St. Louis court has been a particularly favorable venue for these talcum powder-ovarian cancer cases, awarding millions and huge punitive damages to the injured women. Another 1,700 women are in line to have their cases heard there.

Now transvaginal mesh cases are facing the same test in another court.

The legal departments of mesh makers, Boston Scientific (BSC) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), have asked the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to throw out nearly 100 cases filed by plaintiffs who do not reside in Pennsylvania.

With that, potentially $46 million in recent transvaginal mesh injury awards would be challenged.

J&J, from Huffington Post

On June 30, 2017, J&J motioned the court with the misspelled title of, ”Preliminary Ojbections for lack of personal jurisdiction”

Read it here.

J&J’s attorneys say the plaintiffs lacked personal jurisdiction.

To make its point, Ethicon attached the appeals of Ms. Hammonds and Carlino, both out-of-state plaintiffs who were awarded $12.5 and $13.7 in separate trials by the Philadelphia court.

Another plaintiff, Ms. Engleman, was awarded $20 million by the Philadelphia jury. She resides in New Jersey, but had surgery in Philadelphia, which could satisfy the personal jurisdiction criteria.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

If the mesh makers get their way, $46 million in recent jury awards would be voided.

Another recent jury award ($2.16 million) in the Philadelphia court went to Sharon Beltz who resides in Pennsylvania.

Boston Scientific’s lawyers also filed a motion arguing that at least six plaintiffs who do not live, work or were injured in Pennsylvania should also have their cases dismissed.

BSC wants the court to reconsider its objection to personal jurisdiction that it filed with the court two years ago.

While defendant corporations call out nonresident plaintiffs, it should not go unmentioned that Boston Scientific is incorporated in Delaware.

BSC takes advantage of the business-friendly tax advantages of that state, but BSC has no principal place of business in Delaware. Its headquarters are in Massachusetts.

If the court agrees, there would be a review of 1,700 talcum powder lawsuits pending in Missouri and 180 transvaginal mesh cases pending in Philadelphia.

Ironically, J&J won its first pelvic mesh case recently.

However, Kimberly L. Adkins is from Ohio, so theoretically, it too would be dismissed from this jurisdiction. ###

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