Three Lawsuits Alleging J&J Mesh Injuries Quietly Settle in Missouri

Jane Akre
May 13, 2014
TVT Secur, from MegaMed Service, ru

TVT Secur, from MegaMed Service, ru

While details of the settlement have not been made public, Mesh News Desk has learned that three cases naming a specific implanting physician, Christopher H. Robert M.D. All three cases were filed in a Joplin, Missouri state court and all three have been settled by Johnson & Johnson, which had previously vowed to fight each case in court. Attorney Adam Slater (Linda Gross v Ethicon $11.1 million) helped local counsel in each case but was unable to comment on any details of the settlement.

All three women claimed their permanent injuries resulted from a polypropylene pelvic mesh made by Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon division, the TVT-Secur, Prolift and Prolift M+. This is a good warning to any woman being sold on a pelvic procedure to check out the medical malpractice claims against a doctor before submitting to their "expertise." Many states make that information public.

Linda Gross as jury verdict was read

Linda Gross as jury verdict was read

A settlement means there is no appeal and the monies are forthcoming unlike a jury award that is appealed. Linda Gross may have been awarded $11.1 million last year by a New Jersey jury, but that case is on appeal.


Dr. Christopher H. Roberts, Joplin MO

Dr. Christopher H. Roberts, Joplin MO

In his bio page, Christopher H. Roberts M.D. grew up in Joplin, MO where his father was also an obstetrician-gynecologist for 30 years. He got his M.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1991 and did a residence at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Dr. Roberts is board certified in Ob-Gyn. He is also board certified in FPMRS (Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, see doctors complain about the exam Here) and is a fellow of the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS). According to his bio, Dr. Roberts is a national instructor in prolape surgery for Ethicon and American Medical Systems as well as a national proctor for InterStim surgery (Medtronics Corporation). Rate MDs gives him a “poor” overall rating and shows Dr. Roberts reportedly has three offices in Missouri and Kansas. 620-783-2356. Comments appear under this rating. Including a link to MO courts and Dr. Roberts' court history.

Lawsuit #2- Stacey Wilkins (S.W.) v. C. Roberts MD, Freeman Health System, Southwest Women’s Center, Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology, Gynecare and Johnson & Johnson. The complaint states that Dr. Roberts in this case also held himself out to have a “high degree of skill and learnings as that possessed and exercised by other members of his profession, and well able to render proper and adequate gynecologic surgical care and treatment.” Because Dr. Roberts works for Freeman Health Systems he triggered something called “vicarious liability” meaning they would be brought into any malpractice action. See the complaint Here.

TVT Secur, urologist history website

TVT Secur, urologist history website

Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology division, based in Somerville, New Jersey developed, designed and marketed the Gynecare TVT Secur system. Gynecare is a division of Ethicon and also known as Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology is also named as the originator of the TVT Secur system used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI). All were authorized to do business in the state of Missouri.

On May 28, 2010 she had the surgery and by June S.W. complained to Dr. Roberts of having trouble urinating. By July she returned with complaints of pain and urinary retention. By July, Dr. Roberts operated again, this time incising the TVT mesh and performing urethrolysis (free the urethra from surrounding tissue). The pain continued, particularly on her left side and she had dyspareunia

The complaint says Dr. Roberts failed to recommend less invasive procedures, failed to obtain the necessary training, negligently performed the incision of the TVT mesh in July, failed to obtain appropriate informed consent and did not inform S.W. of the risks of multiple procedures such as painful sex (dyspareunia). S.W. has incurred costs of follow up surgery in St. Louis and suffers emotional distress and a loss of quality of life, says the complaint.

The complaint says Defendant Roberts has a pattern of performing flawed and unnecessary vaginal procedures on sexually active women and as a result has caused injury to at least 15 other women over the past ten years. Dr. Roberts knew or should have known that the multiple vaginal procedures put his patient at high risk for unnecessary harm. S.W. is asking for punitive as well as actual damages in her medical malpractice lawsuit.

The second count is against Freeman Health Systems for breaching its duty of care, for failing to make sure its doctors were properly credentialed, especially after he had a pattern of injuring women, of failing to provide adequate informed consent and of implicitly misrepresenting to potential patients that it employed skilled and competent gynecological surgeons.

The lawsuit also names Ethicon, Gynecare and Johnson & Johnson in a product liability action for selling a defective and dangerous product that it knew, or should have known, would cause “severe bodily injury.”

d9 ethicon a j & j company  200

Specifically the action says the TVT Secur was made with materials “That were not adequate to remain safely in the human body;” that “eroded into nearby structures;” that “calls for too much mesh to be inserted into the patient;” that “failed to include adequate instructions to the physicians using it;” and that the Defendants “failed to adequately test the long term effects of having a TVT Secur system in the human body.

As a result, the plaintiff has suffered damage and permanent injury to her vagina and bladder which has required further medical care, expense, pain and suffering as well as permanent disability and disfigurement.

Court IV. is a failure to warn by J&J and Ethicon for its mesh it knew or should have known bodily injury and /or death was substantially likely to occur as a result of the defective and unreasonably dangerous TVT Secur system. Placing the Gynecare TVT near the bladder could make it much for difficult to remove and could potentially cause more tissue damage than other TVTs.

Court V. alleges negligence by the defendants J&J, Ethicon and Gynecare to provide adequate instructions to physicians using the TVT Secur, failure to adequately test the long term effects of having the TVT Secur in the body; that the training off physicians was faulty and inadequate “due to the education provided by Gynecare.” The defendants failed to recall the TVT Secur knowing what they knew about the potential for adverse effects. The Count VI says that the defendants assured the TVT Secur was safe knowing that it wasn’t. Count VII says the company breached its implied warranty that the Secur was safe and that the plaintiff relied on those assurances, which ultimately contributed to her serious bodily injury. A number of items are included in the complaint that address limitations placed on compensation by a plaintiff due to tort reform measures. Roger Johnson represents S.W.

Prolift kit

Prolift kit

Lawsuit #3 – Connie and Kevin Schubert (C.S., K.S.) v. Christopher Roberts, MD, Freeman Health System, Southwest Women’s Center and Freeman Health Systems.

This medical malpractice claim says Dr. Roberts held himself out to be a skilled physician in the area of gynecologic surgery, care and treatment. The same allegations as in the previous case named Freeman Health and Southwest Women’s Center where Dr. Roberts worked. On December 8, 2008 C.S had a Ethicon Prolift implanted during a rectocele repair and enterocele repair and vaginal vault suspension. By March 2009 she had a partial excision of the mesh. That would not be the end of her surgeries in June of that year C.S. had a third surgery with Dr. Roberts, a paravaginal suspension with an anterior Prolift +M and partial excision of mesh.

D20proliftm graphic  he wrote it

The medical malpractice action claims that Dr. Roberts failed to implement a less invasive and less risky method to treat prolapse, failed to do any pre-operative urodynamic testing, failed to adequately perform the procedure then failed to perform the excision of mesh erosion. To make things worse he then implanted a new mesh kit in June 2008 into an area that had already been injured. He also failed to obtain the appropriate informed consent.

The patient is facing future surgeries, medical care, travel, expense and suffers permanent disability and disfigurement. As is stated in the other medical malpractice actions, Defendant Robert has a pattern of hurting women with flawed and unnecessary vaginal procedures hurting at least 15 other in the last ten years. K.S has lost the companionship of his wife. The couple seeks punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.

Count II is negligent credentialing charge against Freeman Health Systems for failing to provide the requisite standard of care, failing to monitor Dr. Roberts even as he continued to injure women; falsely informing women and failing to require him to warn potential patients about his history of causing injuries; failing to provide complete informed consent with the patient, failure to seek a safer option; in implicitly misrepresenting to patients it had a skilled and credentialed and competent surgeon when Freeman knew or should have known Dr. Roberts had over a dozen complaints and lawsuits lodged against him because of his poor performance. Roger Johnson is her lawyer of Johnson & Vorhees. #

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