from Women of Influence, 2018

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, January 31, 2019 – Emmet Awarded $41 Million by Philadelphia Jury Over Mesh injuries

Ethicon has been slammed with $41 million verdict in a Philadelphia product liability case over three of its popular pelvic meshes.

The jury agreed that Gynemesh, Prolift and TVT-O were defective, which led to her injuries and that the company was negligent in manufacturing the medical devices.

Suzanne Emmett was implanted with a Prolift pelvic mesh used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP). The Prolift is made by Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) as was the TVT-O she also received as a treatment for incontinence along with a  Gynemesh implant.

The verdict includes $25 million in punitive damages, $15 million in compensation with $1 million going to her husband for loss of consortium.

The trial team won on the negligence claim which includes design and strict product liability.

Under Pennsylvania law there are two ways to win a failure to warn claim – Emmet won under the risk-utility portion as opposed to failure to meet consumer expectations.

The trial which began in November, resumed earlier this month.

In response, J&J told the media in a statement the company believes that the decision contradicts evidence that its pelvic mesh devices were properly designed, and that it appropriately informed surgeons of known risks.

“Pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence are serious and debilitating conditions with limited treatment options. Scientists from around the world who have conducted and reviewed independent research on pelvic mesh agree it is an important treatment option for some women. All surgeries to treat these conditions have risks. While we empathize with those who have experienced complications, many women with pelvic mesh see an improvement in their day to day lives.”

TVT-O has been found to be defectively designed in at least two previous cases- Huskey and Batiste.

Prolift has been found to be defective in its design in previous mesh trials – Hrymoc, Beltz, Hammons and Kaiser.

Kila Baldwin, Kline Specter

Ms. Emmett claims her injuries are permanent, and she suffered mental and physical pain, an inability to have sexual relations, as well as economic loss. The mesh allegedly eroded into her vagina and left a scar plate and vaginal deformation. She experienced frequent and chronic urinary tract infection and inflammation.

For 30 years Emmett has worked handling workers’ compensation cases for an insurance company. She still goes to work.

She is represented by Kila Baldwin and Elia Robertson of Kline Specter.

Attorneys for Ethicon are Tarek Ismail, Anita Modak Truran and Joe O’Neil.

There is no word yet on whether the company plans an appeal, but that is customarily what happens.

Of the seven pelvic mesh product liability trials so far in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas- Plaintiffs have won five totaling $105.16 million.

Baldwin’s next trial for plaintiff Ms. A. Sutphin will be in April in Charleston, West Virginia, home of multidistrict litigation facing seven different manufacturers of polypropylene pelvic meshes. At one time there were in excess of 104,000 cases filed there from all over the country.

Sutphin has sued Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon division over the TVT-O implant she received.