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Federal Mesh Trial Against J&J Opens in West Virginia

byrd courthouseThis coverage is provided in conjunction with We Are Mesh Survivors, a coalition of synthetic vaginal mesh implant survivors united to demand justice for those who have suffered and to demand that existing products be pulled from the market until their safety can be demonstrated.

Jo Huskey was in a Charleston, West Virginia courtroom today where her legal team will try to prove to a jury of nine that the transvaginal mesh she was implanted with in February 2011 was defective.

Jo Huskey

Jo Huskey

Monday were opening arguments for her legal team as well as lawyers representing Ethicon and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

 

The 54-year-old had a Prolene polypropylene (PP) medical device called a TVT-O (transvaginal tape obturator) implanted as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). She looked thin and tense in the courtroom. Her husband Allan sat next to her with his arm around her much of the day.

Ed Wallace, attorney for Jo Huskey

Ed Wallace, attorney for Jo Huskey

Ed Wallace (Wexler Wallace) told the jury of five women and two men that a preponderance of the evidence (more probably true than not true) will show that the mesh was defective and that that was something J&J understood even before it put the TVT-O on the market in 2003, despite the fact it was designed “to leave in forever.”

Wallace had a calm and soothing delivery and carefully explained complex scientific concepts to the jurors. Wallace told the courtroom that medical device manufacturers are required to put patient safety first. Secondly, they must make sure their product is reasonably safe for its intended use and third, they must provide adequate warnings of the risk associated with that device to the end user, in this case the doctors who treat incontinence.

“Ethicon failed to follow these safety principles and knew the results could be life-altering,” he said.

Instead the company rushed the TVT-O to market in nine months with no clinical trials to assure human safety.  “Ethicon decided to launch first and worry about problems later,” said Wallace.

Huskey suffers from chronic pelvic pain, dyspareunia (painful sex) and even though she has had one partial removal, the mesh remains behind.

The case number is 2:12-cv-05201.

Besides Wexler Wallace, Motley Rice and Fidelma Fitzpatrick are representing Mrs. Huskey.

Christy Jones, Butler Snow for J&J

Christy Jones, Butler Snow for J&J

Christy Jones (Butler Snow) and Dave Thomas will represent Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) as they did in the last Ethicon case tried in this court.

Jones, an experienced litigator, told the jurors the mesh sling cured Mrs. Huskey of incontinence and she did not complain of any pelvic pain until five months after her implant surgery. She called the TVT-O the standard that has “become the doctors’ choice to treat SUI.”

Laying the groundwork for the case ahead she indicated the Prolene mesh (J&J’s proprietary name for PP) is the same thing that had been used for decades in sutures and that over 60 studies assure its safety.

Jones said the evidence will show Mrs. Huskey experienced groin pain in advance of her mesh implant.

Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, Charleston, WV

Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, Charleston, WV

Judge Joseph Goodwin is overseeing the Huskey trial and about 65,000 other similar cases by seven manufacturers. J&J has the largest number of cases filed (22,000).

Estelle Tasz outside federal court

Estelle Tasz outside federal court

During a morning break with the judge and jury out of the room, a mesh-injured woman in the courtroom, Estelle Tasz, approached Ms. Huskey. At first Huskey didn’t know who she was but Estelle told her she too was mesh injured. Huskey asked her to approach closer.  They quietly and privately spoke about their injuries and had a long, emotional hug as the entire courtroom looked on.

Both began softly crying, as did Jo’s husband, Allen.

Estelle gave Jo a small beaded bracelet, which she put on her wrist.

Mesh News Desk and Corporate Action Network will be following the Huskey trial for its entire duration.

12 Comments

  1. Kitty says:

    If Ms Husky had groin pain before the surgery–why was this implant put in? I certainly hope Motley doesn’t throw another one under the bus. Pray Pray Pray for Jo.

  2. Maria Garcia says:

    Dr. Christina Pramudji MD WAS a doctor who was objective and only cared for the well being of her patients. I purposely used the word WAS because it was the truth until a series of events took place. Dr. Pramudjie has joined the defense with her deposition in favor of Ethicon / Johnson and Johnson. Dr. Melvyn A. Anhalt, M.D was the defense hired expert in the Linda Batiste case and practices at the same place Dr. Christina Pramudji practiced. Dr. Pramudji has done a great deal of work separating herself from Memorial Urology Associates-Memorial City Houston Texas. She first moved out of the main office and down the hall on the same floor. She stopped seeing male patients and now has moved again to Houston Female Urology. While at Memorial Urology Associates she spoke the facts about vaginal mesh shrinking, hardening and erosion openly and boldly but as she distanced herself from her former associate, she flip flopped on the entire subject of Ethicon Mesh and even got rather stern in her responses. Dr. Anhalt was exposed for getting paid by Ethicon / Johnson and Johnson at the Linda Batiste trial. He lied on the stand about only one out of 600 mesh installs failed and was caught by the plaintiff attorney. Dr. Pramudji is doing the same thing in her deposition and if the Plaintiff attorneys look at the medical records of women that were installed by Dr. Anhalt and repaired by Pramudji, it tells the whole story and exposes Dr. Pramudji for getting paid by Ethicon / Johnson and Johnson while hiding the truth like Dr. Anhalt tried to do. Dr. Pramudji should be ashamed of herself for seeing and admitting first hand the damage that Ethicon / Johnson and Johnson has done to women everywhere. She has turned her back on the same women she performed surgeries on all in the name of MONEY? Jo Huskey, get your lawyers to lift the veil and see the dark truth just waiting to be told…

    Reply

    • Kitty says:

      Maria—thank you so much for this valuable information. This is a very very serious deposition and it screams “money money money. I pray that Dr Rosenzweig will have the Chutzpah to confront this schizophrenic double bind that Jo Huskey is in.

  3. Stacey says:

    Is anyone else wondering why the cases that are going to trial are for victims who received mesh after all the warnings started to come out?

    • Jane Akre says:

      The second warning came out in July 2011,,, (complications are not rare)… the first in 2006 ( complications are rare)…

  4. Mary pat says:

    Ok. Why can the defendats talk about sutures being made from prolene claiming they are safe and tested yet plaintiffs cant tell the jury that transvaginal mesh was never tested be ause of the 510k provision?? The judge wont let the truth about mesh in the courtroom but its ok to compare prolene to sutures??? What is going on? Can you all see it?

  5. Stacey says:

    The reason I asked the question I did is because I almost feel like they are litigating cases which from the start have a better chance of being found for the Defendant vs. the Plaintiff – or more accurately, we victims!

    • Karin says:

      I totally agree! I hear defense picks a bunch and plaintiffs attorneys picks a bunch and the judge chooses five from each side. I also read that BOTH sides must approve of the choices so it makes it hard those who are most injured to have their day in court. Many have been weak cases. There is even one.. Dont want to mention names, where I wonder why lawyers even accepted it because it was doomed from the get go and looked as if the woman may have not been totally truthful. These things are very damaging to the many women out there who have suffered injuries so severe and losses so great that there NO amount of financial compensation could make up for it. So many people being paid off. Deliberately hurting women, turning blind eye or outright lying all for a chunk of cash. Hey you awful creepy people who claim to work for justice, public safety or health…. Who do this… God is watching. You wont be able to take your riches to Hell

  6. courtney says:

    How can anybody be at a courthouse 20 days post – op. She better be careful as she just handed herself to the defensive on a silver platter. Just my opinion maybe she just had a minor surgery and wasnt as injured as I was.

    • Kitty says:

      That is a concern of mine. She must be on MS04 or percocet at least.

      • Estelle Tasz says:

        No I had full mesh removal yes on pain meds I was with jane for a few hours and had a car pick me up to go back . I made a promise and the pain reminds me that my mesh is gone‼️

        • jane akre says:

          Courtney- I can verify, Estelle dressed very nicely, we had the shuttle take us to the courthouse, a few steps away, then she would leave in the afternoon, again with the shuttle pickup, and go back to the hotel and lie down. She did not feel well. I would hope we would cut each other the benefit of the doubt! thank you.! ja

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