Pennsylvania Will Accept Out-of-State Mesh Cases

Jane Akre
April 4, 2019
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, April 4, 2019 ~ Mesh maker, Ethicon has been trying to keep pelvic mesh trials out of Philadelphia, a favorable venue for plaintiffs. So far the Philadelphia Court of Common Please has yielded $146 million in verdicts for mesh injured women.  

A three-judge panel on Wednesday cleared the way for more cases to be tried there.

Pelvic mesh plaintiffs who live outside Pennsylvania will be able to pursue pelvic mesh claims in the Keystone State against Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon). A three-judge Superior Court panel cleared the way Wednesday.

Law 360 has the story, by subscription only.

Pennsylvania, specifically the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, has been an especially favorable court to plaintiffs yielding about $146 million in verdicts to the mesh-injured women.

The precedent was set by the Hammons case.

Hammons, an Indiana resident, appeared before the Philadelphia jury in December 2015 and was awarded nearly $13 million.

The compensation included $7 million in punitive damages due to the injuries she suffered from the Prolift pelvic mesh device, which was implanted with in 2009.

Ethicon, argued that the Indiana woman’s case should never have been heard in Pennsylvania claiming it was the wrong jurisdiction for Hammons to bring a civil lawsuit.

Dr. Greg Vigna, MD JD

Dr. Greg Vigna, who consults with pelvic mesh cases and especially pudendal nerve damaged women from a pelvic mesh implant, believes this is good news for plaintiffs.

"This is excellent news for my newly injured sling clients as my team looks to file catastrophic pudendal and obturator neuralgia cases in state courts across the country now that the MDL is closed.  
"We appreciate the work Kline-Specter has done and continues to do.  Pennsylvania obviously will be a frequent venue going forward for my clients who may be best served with their case governed under Pennsylvania Product Liability law rather than their state of implantation."

Patricia Hammons

In an 82-page decision, filed June 19, 2018, Superior Court Judge Victor P. Stabile told the company to pay the damages.

Hammons was represented by Shanin Specter of Kline Specter, a Philadelphia law firm.

Her complaint, filed in May 2013, included not just Ethicon, but Secant Medical and Secant Medical LLC, a manufacturer of surgical mesh located in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, lending credence to Pennsylvania as the proper venue for this civil action.

Proper Venue

Plaintiffs argue Johnson & Johnson works with Secant Medical Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company that manufactured its implants. That gives plaintiffs the jurisdiction in Pennsylvania.

Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) had tried to have about 70 mesh cases toss from Pennsylvania based on a U.S Supreme Court decision (Squibb v Superior Court of California) that disallows judge shopping unless there is a link to a particular venue.

See Case #652 EDA 2018 before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, Pelvic Mesh litigation.


MND, September 5, 2018, Ethicon Tries Unsuccessfully to Have Hammons’ Issues Revisited

MND, May 23, 2018~ Philadelphia Gets Green Light as Venue for J&J Pelvic Mesh Cases

MND, June 20, 2018, Hammons Prolift Case $12.8 Million verdict Upheld (here)

MND, December 22, 2015, Philadelphia Prolift Mesh Case Yields $12.5 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

MND, July 11, 2017,  Mesh Makers Want Non-Residents Ousted from Philadelphia court

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