Bellew v. Ethicon Prolift Case Settles After a Four-Day Trial

Jane Akre
March 9, 2015
Judge Joseph Goodwin

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Mesh News Desk has learned that the defective pelvic mesh trial of Dianne Bellew v. Ethicon settled Friday morning at 11:30 in its fourth day of a trial being held in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia.

Six weeks ago in a Camden, Missouri courtroom, Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, settled another mesh trial over the same Prolift Pelvic Floor System. A settlement avoids a defective design jury conclusion. Terms of a settlement are not revealed and the company admits no liability.

But one day before the Bellew decision, a Bakersfield, California jury found the Ethicon TVT-Abbrevo to be defectively designed, along with its instructions to doctors.

Ms. Bellew, from Tucson, Arizona, was implanted with a Prolift Pelvic Support System in July 2009 in Northwest Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. The implanting surgeon was Carol Dehasse, MD.

Ms. Bellew's case was transferred into federal multidistrict litigation where there are currently 24,388 filed product litigation cases filed that name Ethicon and its family of pelvic meshes. Prolift was quietly removed from the market in June 2012. The TVT-Abbrevo remains on the market.

The Bellew v. Ethicon trial was rescheduled from December 2014 to March 2, 2015 after Ethicon argued before Judge Goodwin that recent publicity about defense losses would taint the jury.

Christy Jones, from Linda Gross trial Feb 2013

Christy Jones, from Linda Gross trial Feb 2013

Attorneys Ben Anderson and Adam Slater represented Ms. Bellew. Christy Jones from Butler Snow represented Ethicon.

Ms. and Mr Perry

Ms. and Mr Perry

The California state court case of Coleen Perry v. Ethicon concluded March 5 with a jury award of $5.7 million to Ms. Perry. The jury also decided the TVT-Abbrevo, also made by Ethicon, was defectively designed and the instructions to the physician were defective or insufficient.

The case against another mesh makers, C.R. Bard, settled last month in the same Charleston, WV courtroom, (Wise v. C.R. Bard over its Avaulta mesh) where more than 70,000 pelvic mesh cases have been consolidated against seven mesh manufacturers.

Thousands more product liability cases against pelvic mesh are filed in state courtrooms around the U.S.

Besides Bard and Ethicon, Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems, Caldera, Cook and Neomedic all face similar product liability actions. In July 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined complications from pelvic mesh are "not rare" after the agency began receiving thousands of complaints from women across the country. Similar complaints are being heard from women in other countries where pelvic mesh is sold.

In the U.S. pelvic mesh used to treat incontinence is still referred to as the "gold standard" but increasingly, the implanting physician is being named in a medical malpractice claim along with the suit naming the manufacturer.

Last month, the federal judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation, Judge Joseph Goodwin, warned both sides in this pelvic mesh litigation to set aside their differences and begin settling these cases or try them in waves or with multiple plaintiffs. #

case concluded on day five according to court calendar
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