Philadelphia Gets Green Light as Venue for J&J Pelvic Mesh Cases

Jane Akre
May 23, 2018
Image: SCOTUS, Wikipedia

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, May 23, 2018 ~ For some plaintiffs, it can make all of the difference where their case is litigated. Some courts and judges are known to be more friendly to injured plaintiffs.

If you are a defendant, Big Insurance, Big Asbestos, Big Tobacco - you call these “Judicial Hellholes.”

But if you are a plaintiff you try and have your case heard there.

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has been a jurisdiction favorable to mesh-injured plaintiffs. Plaintiff compensation there has ranged from $2.6 million (Beltz) to $68 Million (McGinnis), with just one case (Atkins) resulting in a defense win.

So naturally folks wanted their product liability cases heard there.

But last year, there was a shakeup in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court decision (Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California).

According to the ruling there has to be a good reason for choosing a particular venue. Either the plaintiff had to be injured in that state, has to reside in that state, or the manufacturer has to have some ties to that state.

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons


Last July, three plaintiffs suing Boston Scientific in Philadelphia agreed to litigate elsewhere due to the Supreme Court decision.

Based on that argument, Ethicon wanted its cases removed too.

Prolene mesh and particles

Now after a May 18th decision, Ethicon cases will stay in Philadelphia.

The reason – Plaintiffs’ lawyers found Ethicon uses a manufacturing plant based in Perskasie,  Bucks Co. Pennsylvania.  Secant knits the polypropylene  (Prolene, Ethicon’s proprietary name) into mesh then returns the knitted mesh to Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), for further processing.

The opinion was issued by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold New on May 18.

(See it -  Judge New May 18 order here).

Judge New cites the testimony of a former J&J employee who said Secant performed an “integral portion” of the manufacturing of mesh that went into Gynemesh, Prolene, Prolift, Prosima, TVT, TVT- Exact, TVT-Obturator, and TVT-Secur pelvic mesh devices.

The Prolift +M was manufactured by a non-Pennsylvania based plant.  The Court then found there was not a personal jurisdiction in which non-Pennsylvania plaintiffs implanted with Prolift +M in an order dated December 4, 2017.

Ronna Moore was one of those women.

As a resident of Texas implanted with the Prolift +M she appealed her dismissal in January. In February, the appeal was discontinued.

The ruling means about 100 Ethicon/ J&J cases filed in that jurisdiction, now get to remain in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, whether or not the injured resides in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas


So a number of trials are set to be heard in Philadelphia.

Among them:

1307-01491  Perigo Etal v Ethicon Women's Health and Urology, Trial date: July 30, 2018.

1307-01577 Mcfarland Etal v Ethicon Women's Health and Urology, Trial date: August 27, 2018.

1307-01495  Emmett Etal vs Ethicon Women's Health and Urology, Trial date: November 19, 2018.

1307-01580  Mohn Etal vs Ethicon Women's Health and Urology,  Trial date: January 14, 2019.

1307-01583 Carter Etal vs Ethicon Women's Health and Urology, Trial date: February 1, 2019.  ###


MND, Mesh Trials so Far Plaintiff v Defendant

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