Batiste v Ethicon: Pelvic Mesh Survivor Takes the Stand
Most of Mesh News Desk readers are familiar with The Mesh Warrior, Aaron Horton has been spending some time in the Dallas courtroom to watch the proceedings of Batiste v. Ethicon as it enters its second week.
The Plaintiffs rested Wednesday but not before L.B. took the stand. Aaron shares her observations with Mesh News Desk.
Thank you Aaron!
“Yesterday afternoon, plaintiff’s counsel formally rested after Mrs. Batiste’s testimony and Ethicon’s cross examination of her. While on the stand, her demeanor was poised and calm, albeit understandably nervous.
Linda Batiste (L.B.) has spent the majority of her 64 years in Dallas. On January 12, 2011 she was implanted with an Ethicon TVT-O at the Baylor Medical Center to treat stress urinary incontinence. Jurors in this trial are allowed to take notes and appear to be very interested. There are seven male and seven female jurors.
She was asked about her injuries including vaginal erosion of the mesh, dyspareunia, leg/groin pain and when her specific symptoms related to the implant occurred. Ethicon’s defense team has often brought up the plaintiff’s concurrent medical conditions which include diabetes, multiple back surgeries, two previous strokes, other gynecological diagnoses, and a battle with mental health on and off over her lifetime.
Ethicon brought back the female attorney. N. Kay Deming from Atlanta (Troutman Sanders LLP) for the cross-examination of Ms. Batiste. Deming has only presented for opening arguments and now for the cross-examination of Ms. Batiste. She has not been present for every day of the trial. She has a shoulder injury, which she has pointed out to the jury on more than one occasion. I wonder if she has a medical device implanted. I don’t know. I do know that she seems to be making her injury obvious to the jury by calling it out often, verbally and nonverbally, though she’s only presented twice.
Ethicons’s legal strategy seems to be follow the same formula we’ve seen from them before: focusing on the plaintiff’s other conditions as possible causes for her pelvic pain and injury. Ethicon’s attorneys also asked several questions about the medications Ms. Batiste had been on throughout her life and currently, citing that some of the medications she is taking also have the possibility to cause some of her symptoms.
L.B. remains calm, but her facial expression belies her demeanor. It says to me, “Really? You think somehow I don’t know the difference between the pain caused from my implant and pain unrelated to that?” I don’t blame her. The cross-examination of Ms. Batiste lasts a little more than an hour, and she held up well. I hugged her at recess and told her she was a very strong woman.
Also during the lunch recess, when the jury was not present, Ethicon made an appeal to the judge to enter into evidence more of Ms. Batiste’s personal history. Judge Molberg denied their appeals to admit this information into court, saying, “The appeals court is on the second floor,” to the objecting attorney for Ethicon, who was Mr. Noteware. I choose not to disclose the details of Mr. Noteware’s request because I find it to be so heinous a request that I won’t repeat it.
The first witness called after the plaintiff’s counsel formally rested was Dr. Hinoul, the Belgian Medical Director for Ethicon who was overseeing the TVT-O development, and J&J’s Gynecare/Women’s Health division at the time of the product’s marketing.
Dr. Hinoul continued on the stand this morning with examination and cross examination. #