Carlino v. Ethicon Transvaginal Mesh Trial Gets Started in Philadelphia

//Carlino v. Ethicon Transvaginal Mesh Trial Gets Started in Philadelphia

Carlino v. Ethicon Transvaginal Mesh Trial Gets Started in Philadelphia

TVT graphic

TVT graphic

Mesh News Desk, January 26, 2016 ~ The plaintiffs are Sharon and Charles Carlino of New Jersey and they are finally having their day in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania court over her transvaginal mesh implant made by Johnson & Johnson.  The case is A.  Carlino v. Ethicon, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 1306-03470 before Judge Kenneth J. Powell Jr.

This is the first trial of the TVT (transvaginal tape) since Lewis v. Ethicon which was dismissed by Judge Goodwin in WV federal court following a directed verdict motion by J&J.  Unlike Lewis, this time a Failure to Warn the doctor will be allowed.

The case pits the couple against giant healthcare company J&J and its Ethicon division, maker of the transvaginal mesh implanted in Ms. Carlino. This is the second pelvic mesh trial in the Philadelphia court and one of 40,000 mesh cases filed against Ethicon, which is facing more defective product lawsuits filed in state and federal court than another other mesh maker.

In this court alone there are 180 cases pending for trial.

Mesh News Desk will not be in the courtroom, however, The Legal Intelligencer filed a story Monday, Jan. 25.  See it here. 


BACKGROUNDdr andrew blechman nj

On August 18, 2005 Ms. Carlino was implanted with a Gynecare TVT to correct incontinence, by Dr. Andrew Blechman. By November 26, 2007 she had corrective surgery to revise and/or remove the J&J product.  By December 2010, she had another revision surgery.  All three surgeries were performed by Dr. Blechman.

TVT (transvaginal tape) is a polypropylene knitted mesh placed to support the urethra and bladder.

Secant Medical of Perkasie, PA is also a defendant in this case in that they manufactured and sold the mesh components to J&J.

As a result she has sustained injuries including, “mesh erosion, mesh exposure, mesh contraction, infection, inflammation, scar tissue, organ perforation, dyspareunia, blood loss, pelvic floor damage, pelvic pain and recurrent urinary incontinence,” which have led to corrective surgeries, mental and physical pain and financial losses, says her Complaint (Carlino complaint).

Laura Hensley Smith, attny for Ethicon

Laura Hensley Smith, attny for Ethicon


The Legal Intelligencer reports the TVT was the “worldwide gold standard” used in treating stress-related incontinence, according for the attorney representing Ethicon Laura Hensley Smith during opening statements Monday.

When the TVT was the first sling created by J&J to address incontinence, “It was revolutionary,” said Smith.

shanin specter kline specterShanin Specter said the TVT was defective in its design and was developed by Dr. Ulf Ulmsten who had a financial incentive to develop test results to J&J.

Eventually Dr. Ulmsten would sell his patented device to the company for millions, according to testimony in previous trials.  TVT (transvaginal tape) was first sold in Europe in 1997 and in the U.S. in 1998.

Dr. Ulf Ulmsten, inventor of TVT

Dr. Ulf Ulmsten, inventor of TVT

Ms. Carlino first felt something sharp in her vagina and her doctor found part of the mesh had eroded. She had a second removal surgery after feel a sharp pain again. Her pain did not subside. Specter said the remaining pelvic mesh could not be removed safely.

The issue of small pelvic mesh pore size and and non-laser cut edges will also be brought into this trial as it has in other litigation.  Small pores, under 3 mm, encourage bridging fibrosis and scar plate formation which shrinks the mesh.  The TVT has sharp exposed edges not smoother edges which results when the polypropylene mesh material is cut with a laser.

Specter added that Ms. Carlino’s doctor was not informed of the defective and dangerous nature of the mesh.  Dr. Blechman is an obstetrician-gynecologist. Ethicon attorney Smith said he was well trained in implanting the pelvic mesh and that she received the standard of care. Her problems are not related to the mes, the attorney said.

The mesh had to be removed because Ms. Carlino’s vaginal wall had thinned, she argued, reports The Legal Intelligencer.  

The Carlinos are represented by Shanin Specter, Thomas Kline, Lee Balefsky and Michelle Tiger of Kline Specter O.C. of Philadelphia and Rich Freese of Freese & Goss, Dallas. Laura Hensley Smith is with Eldredge & Clark of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Plaintiffs’ attorney allege defective manufacture and design of the TVT and a failure to warn her physician or the plaintiff,  “the defendants intentionally, recklessly, and maliciously misrepresented the safety, risks and benefits of the pelvic mesh products and or the mesh components understating the risks and exaggerating the benefits in order to advance their own financial interests, with wanton and willful disregard for the rights and health of the plaintiff.” Also alleged is negligence (a duty to care), common law fraud, negligent representation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of express/ implied warranty (was safe to use by consumers), violation of consumer protection law, violating PA state consumer protection statutes, gross negligence, loss of consortium. Asking for punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.   The Carlino case was filed June 26, 2013.

Judge Powell has limited each side to six days of testimony.

Kline Specter is the same law firm that just secured a $12.5 million jury award in the Patricia Hammons pelvic mesh case against Ethicon held in the Philadelphia court last month.

It took jurors less than one day to add the punitive portion of $7 million to the $5 million in compensatory damages.

See the Mesh News Desk story here. #




Carlino complaint

Ulf Ulmsten, MND Huskey trial coverage, September 2014

MND, When Ethicon Knew TVT had Problems, Lewis Case, Feb. 2014


By | 2016-07-19T12:41:25+00:00 January 26th, 2016|News|18 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. mary January 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    So glad for ms Carlino, and good look for all the damage victims are they taking trials for one person at a time are they taking them in groups or states my lawyer is in Houston but have offices in Denver i know the waiting game is very hard when you are hurting and dont know if they will ever get to you so you can benefit and enjoy it before it is to late i know every one of us are in pain and hard to see them put us in more pain its a waiting game mary

    • Bejah Blue January 26, 2016 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Mary, Remember the old saying, “A watched pot never boils”. Focus on things that make you happy as they are, for one thing, healing for your body. Watching the devils cauldren will not cause a reaction any sooner because you are watching but it will upset you more.


      • mary January 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm - Reply

        Bejah,Thank you,, i dont watch or have it on my mind to much but was thinking sometimes will we ever hear anything but your advice is helpful for me and others

  2. Linda h January 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jane. Been waiting a lot of years.

  3. jade January 26, 2016 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Jane – What’s happening in the Sherrer vs Bard and BSX? Why was this trial not limited to a two-week time frame?

    • Jane Akre January 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Just not limited by this judge. I guess he didn’t know what he was getting into!! I’m told closing arguments will be Monday. Can anyone attend? Its in Kansas City MO

  4. Suzanne McClain January 27, 2016 at 12:28 am - Reply

    Praying for the best outcome for the Carlino’s! I have a particulat interest in this case because mrs. Carlino was injured by the same mesh product that I too was injured by!

    Jane, were you banned from the courtroom again, or was it a personal choice not to cover it internally? Please advise.

    Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do!

    • Jane Akre January 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      I just choose not to afford to fly to every case and spent a couple thousand $$ on coverage. I’d love to but it is just not realistic. I will cover 2 cases this year.

      • Suzanne McClain January 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm - Reply

        Understandable! I just wondered if you were permanently being barred, even through live feeds. Again, thank you Jane for all you have done, and continue to do!

  5. Toya January 27, 2016 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    J&J just settled a 120 Million for up to 3000 woman on Bloomberg news

  6. Lindsey January 27, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Can you give us information on when we can attend anything for the mesh MCL in Bergen New Jersey? Or when there may be some updates? Thank you for all you do!

  7. Barb January 28, 2016 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Wonderful news just keeps on rolling!! I hope all my mesh injured ladies and gentlemen are dong the best you can!!!

  8. MAMOHIO(sad&disappointed) February 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I wonder since I had the exact same mesh, same erosion into my vaginal wall, multiple surgeries if I will see 13.6 million also. Jane do you know since these ladies are getting to go to trial and getting these million dollar settlements and we have the same mesh, same make, same problems and surgeries, will we get the same even if we aren’t chosen to go to trial or will we get pennies? I guess its a question for my lawyer but I don’t think we will ever see our day in court. So I wonder how that works?

    • Jane Akre February 13, 2016 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      flip a coin….. no one ever knows the outcome of court…..

  9. mary February 14, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply

    I am glad for Pat.Hammons case glad she got a settlement she can now have a relief of its over for and can go on with her life but others wont the same i have had the same surgerys and out come will we get the same amount if we ever go to court i know all women are suffering from the same it is hard with the pain to go on i am not dwelling on it but its hard when you read about it i hope all the women dont have to wait than never get anything or there case never gets to be heard and all the trouble we have been through has been forgetting bless all of these women ,, mary

  10. Barb February 15, 2016 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    I’m so pleased that the more information is heard in trials the more aware the plantiffs get and the public as well. I wouldn’t count on getting the same amount awarded even if your injuries, same defective device, same physical issues!! I have AMS and have heard nothing in many months all I know is where things stand! I did send one of the attorneys at the Law firm in Florida either too demanding or he also doesn’t have answere’s!! Hope you all are doing the best you can Love my mesh people………….

    • Mamohio (sad & disappointed) February 16, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply


      If you have AMS then you should have reached or received your settlement. I had AMS and it was settled and an EIF (extraordinary injury fund) was set up to allow addl monies allocated. You have to apply to that yourself for the EIF. DEADLINE IS MARCH 1, 2016 TO EVERYONE WHO HAD AMS. CALL YOUR LAWYERS, GET YOUR DRS INFO IF SURGERIES ARE EXPECTED. YOU WILL BE AWARDED MORE MONEY.

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