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Jury in Hrymoc Pelvic Mesh Trial Returns $15 Million to Plaintiff

Adam Slater, Courtroom View Network

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, December 14, 2017 ~ The case of Elizabeth Hrymoc returned with a jury verdict of $15 million for the mesh injured woman including $10 million in punitive damages.

This was the second New Jersey product liability trial naming as defendant Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon division.

The Prolift transvaginal mesh used to treat prolapse, and the TVT-O were both implanted in Ms. Hrymoc. 

The jury was charged with finding a wanton disregard for patient health.  In its findings, the jury of ten decided the company displayed malicious intent.

 

The  breakdown is as follows:

$5 Million Compensation ($4 million for her,  $1 million for husband)

$10 Million Punitive Damages

Prolift- Defectively Designed AND  Failure to Warn

TVT-O Failure to Warn

The Hrymoc (RYE-mock) v. Ethicon case went to the jury about 9:30 this morning, Thursday, December 14. See Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division – Bergen Co Docket No BER-L-13696-14 MCL.

The ten jurors (6 men, 4 women) from Bergen Co., New Jersey decided the Prolift transvaginal mesh was defectively designed and that warnings given to surgeons were inadequate.  They also decided warnings from Ethicon to end user, surgeons, was inadequate with the medical device mesh TVT-O.

Slater did not pursue a defective design claim against TVT-O.

Both meshes have been found defectively designed in previous product liability trials.

Slater  tells MND: 

Adam Slater, Mazie Slater Katz Freeman

“I want to talk about the women who have shown courage and resolve – this verdict is for them!  Elizabeth Hrymoc always made it clear she was going to trial for the other women still in the court system, waiting for their trials and settlements and for the opportunity to go to trial.  This outcomes gives hope -their time will come.”

Elizabeth Hrymoc and her husband, Tad have been in the courtroom listening to both sides in this product liability trial ever since it began Monday, November 27. See MND story here.

The 71-year old research technician from South River in Middlesex County, claims the two meshes caused her injuries.

Slater adds that the jury loved Ms. Hrymoc. She came to the U.S. from Poland in her 20s.  She went to college full time studying to be a chemical research technician while raising three kids. Eventually she worked for Mobil.

In the Hrymoc trial opening, Mr. Slater called Prolift, “a stupid idea” with too much mesh that incites a foreign body reaction.

See MND story on Mesh Explant findings (here).

This is only the second pelvic mesh case to be heard in New Jersey.

Linda and Jeff Gross, from PBS Need to Know

The Linda Gross trial concluded in February 2013 with an $11.1 million jury award, which Ethicon (J&J) immediately appealed. The appeals were exhausted and the case finally concluded one year ago.

See verdict story here  and  here.

*Late Add here*  Ethicon in a statement, reported by Northjersey.com says:

“Ethicon intends to appeal this verdict, as we believe that the evidence showed that the company appropriately informed surgeons of pertinent complications and that the products were properly designed and studied,” said Mindy Tinsley, a company spokeswoman. 

Slater and Prolift, NorthJersey.com

THE TESTIMONY

Hrymoc had two mesh implants made by the Ethicon division of J&J – Prolift, a large multi-armed mesh implant used to hold up sagging internal organs, and a TVT-O, used to support a urethra to treat stress urinary incontinence. Both are made by Ethicon.

The TVT-O is still on the market but the Prolift was quietly taken off the market in 2012.

Prolift, MedTech Marketing

Ms. Hrymoc underwent three revision/removal surgeries but the last one had to be stopped midway through because she lost too much blood and needed transfusions.

Now she lives with chronic pain, mesh erosion and dyspareunia.

The arms of the Prolift were banded, evidence showed.

It seems obvious she is suffering, emailed one observer in the courtroom.

Her implanting surgeon was gynecologist, Dr. Mark Mokrzycki.  Hrymoc says she never received adequate warning about the potential risks.   Dr. Mokrzycki testified at trial that he would not recommend the product today with what he now knows.

The Ethicon consultant taught Prolift procedures to others. At trial, J&J attacked him blaming him for overtensioning the Prolift mesh.

The two-week trial included testimony from Ethicon’s Scott Ciarrocca, an electrical engineer by training who helped bring Prolift to market.

During testimony in a previous trial (Hammons), Ciarrocca told jurors that safety concerns over Prolift had been answered and the conclusion was it was safe and effective, despite the 20.1 % failure rate and concerned expressed by scientists within Ethicon.

Both Prolift and TVT-O were cleared for marketing by the FDA without any clinical trials required under the agency’s 510(k) regulation. Prolift was marketed by J&J even before the company had alerted the FDA, evidence showed in the Gross trial from 2013.

Elizabeth Kaveler, a urogynecologist consultant, also appeared for Ethicon. She testified that mesh “does not have a life of its own,” and does not move around within the pelvis.

The issue of spoliation, or intentional destruction of documents that were under a litigation hold in this case, were to be addressed.  See MND story on that issue here.

 

TVT-O from beckenbodenzentrummuenster.de

JURORS MUST DECIDE

The jury was asked to meet the “wanton and willful disregard for patient health and safety” standard.  This can be a big hurdle to clear as it goes to malicious intent.

The ten jurors (six men, four women) will decide if the Prolift has a design defect and whether J&J failed to warn doctors about its risks.

For the TVT-O jurors will decide if Ethicon adequately warned doctors about its risks.

Prolift has been found defectively designed in two cases heard in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas – Hammons ($12.5 million) and Beltz ($2.16 million).

Nearby Philadelphia pelvic mesh trials have yielded jury awards ranging from $2.16 million to $57 million.

Jurors have the option to award punitive damages, which typically exceed compensation for injuries in these pelvic mesh trials.

J&J is a company worth $70 billion and it should pay for its mistakes.  “We know the only language they speak is money….. the only way to deter them and to punish them is to make them pay,” Slater told jurors.

Ethicon/ Johnson & Johnson is facing in excess of 55,000 product liability cases filed around the world, according to its SEC filing.  ###

66 Comments

  1. I have Pro-Lite please help. 6×3 inches of it please help insured 2004

    • KRISSTEE says:

      HOW DO THEY DETERMINE WHO GOES TO TRAIL AND WHO DONT? I HAVE BEEN PUTTING UP WITH THIS SINCE 2010. I CANT WALK ANYMORE AND PAIN EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE . WHO CHOOSES TRIALS OR JUST IN THE SETTELMENTS

  2. #AllMeshedUp says:

    God Bless Mr and Mrs Hrymoc! Congratulations Mr Slater on a job well done. Now we need to fight for everyone of our Mesh sister’s so they too can have their voices heard in court. They manipulated the data for their own greed injuring thousands of women and their families. They should be made to face each and everyone of us injured in court so we can get the same verdict

  3. Deb says:

    Yay! Thanks for covering this, Jane!
    Another step in the right direction!! Of COURSE J & J plans to drag it out and appeal… They don’t give a rats ass about anything except making more $$. It’s time they compensated this woman, and so many others that are suffering.

  4. Kitty says:

    Thank u for excellent report

  5. Lorrena says:

    SO HAPPY THIS LADY WON HER CASE…WE ALL ARE SUFFERING, I HV TO CATHERIZE THE REST OF MY LIFE. This was done to me 2011 an had it removed by a new Dr. And he couldn’t get it all out it’s INBEDDED IN MY ORGANS and I suffer everyday…. my family has suffered bc I’m not the same ….my life is over J&J stole my life. I LOST MY HOME AND EVERYTHING BC OF THIS..IM NOW HOMELESS BUT NO ONE CARES…NOT J&J/ETHACON. NO ONE WILL EVER HEAR MY STORY BC IT WILL BE SHOVED UNDER RUG..540 204 74 00

  6. Disgusted says:

    Quit fighting this J&J. You have made defective products. Take them off the market and move on. To continually claim that they are safe, despite women being maimed and killed is so reckless and irresponsible.

    I live in fear I may go septic again. I had a doctor tell me that it is a “when” not an “if”. “When I go septic again they may not have an antibiotic to clear the infection and I’ll be saying good bye to my family”. I pray she is wrong. I’ve just been informed my urethral sphincter is gone. This is not signs of good products. To vow to keep fighting this is a travesty.

    Thank you for covering this Jane.

    • Jane Akre says:

      I’m so sorry… it sounds like you are living with a ticking bomb……. try to be positive about your health…. dread is stress and stress is no good. Easy for me to say…..

  7. Bridget says:

    I have the TVT O yesterday the doctor did my procedure I am in a lot of pain an I’m ha ing a hard time walking I wish I would’ve heard about this sooner before my surgery if I would’ve known I would have never had it done

  8. Debbie M says:

    I have had a case against J&J and Ethicon for almost five years . I think my attorney is doing me wrong and I don’t know what to do about it . Nothing short of going to Virginia and actually talking for myself because they never tell me anything

  9. MAMOHIO says:

    I’m so happy they got to go to trial, hopefully they will get their money with no appeals. Seeing how they are in their 70’s. If J&J appeals this and this women passes away without a single dime, it is our duty to go to J&J HQ and really show our support. I wonder why we aren’t getting to have a trial?

    • Jane Akre says:

      The truth is there are very few lawyers equipped to take these cases to trial…. If you were lucky enough to hire one of them, then you are in line… if not, and who knew, then there are fewer options….Certainly so many lawyers should not have accumulated cases they did not intend to take the distance.

  10. Teresa A says:

    I have just had my 5th surgery trying to get all this mesh out of me. Still more mesh left they cannot get to. TVT and TVT- Secure both have been placed and removed except for pieces they cannot get to. Pendendal nerve blocks every 3 weeks, to ease the pain and help with walking. Now trying to go longer on the blocks, for as a nurse I know I’m losing my hair due to the steroid use in the blocks. My life has changed drastically in the last 5 years. J&J, Ethicon this is on you!!! What was once a vibrant woman who could run marathons, is now disabled and can barely climb two steps. You took our lives!!! We want something in return!!!! What is your livelihood worth to you?!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Teresa I certainly hope you have a good lawyer and a good doctor… I’m so sorry that your life has changed so drastically… its not fair!

    • Kitty says:

      PLEASE KEEP the women who will be traveling this coming week in your prayers. Travels to Dr’s Raz Hibner Verkonis Walker et al. Some will travel 1000s of miles from home to see the best surgeons in the U.S.

  11. Jimmy says:

    How muvh longer can they truly hang on. Wasnt these cases just to figure out how much they were going to offer women. I dont understand. Dont they run out of appeals. I get that each case is different but all of the cases are the same. J&J sold a faulty product. How can this keep happening. Half of these women will be dead by the time they try 55,000 cases. Isn’t there any way this can just be over for my poor mother. Now we have found out that my mothers prostatic hip is also a recall and she has to have that removed because of the faulty hip. Also a j&j product.

    • Jane Akre says:

      That is unbelievable….. I’m so sorry. You should tell your story…

    • Kitty says:

      Don’t blame just J and J. What about the greedy stockholders. They would sell their soul for a dime. When I get my greedy little hands on some money i will tell my story. I can’t wait to read Ama Rose book.

      • 68% of J&J stock is owned by mutual funds. Only 0.16% of outstanding stocks are owned by individuals. Their stock is up by almost 24% this year. Here is an article about J&Js investors.

        http://money.cnn.com/quote/shareholders/shareholders.html?symb=JNJ&subView=institutional

        It is important to realize that most people who are in the stock market are invested through mutual funds. If you have a retirement pension, IRA account, or other investments, J&J stock is probably in the mix of investments. Most people don’t invest in individual companies in today’s market. Some probably don’t even know what mix of stocks are in their investment portfolio. Diversifying investments in a mutual fund is much less risky than betting the ranch on just a few companies. The mutual funds establish their investment guidelines based on trending company profitability. They watch trends and change their portfolios but it is doubtful that managers of these funds are aware of the individual lawsuits that are ongoing, especially when the company remains profitable.

        If you have an IRA or other type of investing with a mutual fund, you can’t opt out of one company that is in the mix. I asked about doing that a few years ago and it is not an option.

        So, the idea of greedy stockholders sitting in a room and deciding that they will harm people intentionally for profit doesn’t really fit into how today’s investment environment works. Of course, there are company executives who own stock. You can do a google search and find out who they are and how much stock they own if you are interested in knowing that.

  12. Michael says:

    Looks like J & J have gotten desperate and this could be the beginning of the end. They have resorted to throwing the DR under the bus. Once they start blaming the surgeons they are without an ally.

  13. Jimmy says:

    I will ask my mother if that is something she would like to do

  14. betrayed says:

    Ethicon should be made set up a
    registry to follow patients implanted with their devices. After all we are
    their experiments we never
    consented to being. The small
    settlements tell us prepare for the
    worst and hope for the best. The
    registry or central database would
    help with our care going forward
    and create a standard of
    care. This would help doctors
    acknowledge our injuries and help
    treat those injuries and complications into the future. To carry out these
    experiments with defective products and leave us high and dry is
    unacceptable. What
    else can we expect from a company who tries to hide their own credo from the jury. No wonder the so called
    consent we signed before surgery
    said
    ”lack of long term outcomes data”

  15. Angie says:

    I wish I had known about this site before accepting my reward from J&J Ethicon. I asked on every phone call I made if I didn’t like the amount offered could I go to trial, and was told on every phone conversation that indeed I could reject any offers and go to trial. I had to fight for a higher amount cause what they were offering was pennies! Finally they came back with a decent offer, tho I feel I deserved more after four surgeries. I would have rathered going to trial but my attorneys advised I should take the offer cause I would forfeit any other awards. So I took it, I just wish I hasnt:(

    • Jane Akre says:

      Angie- First, its a settlement. I’m sorry to that you didn’t land here first. Who is your law firm? YOu understand, they likely did not have the capability of taking you to trial without partnering with one of the current trial law firms handling these cases. They just are not up to speed! So it’s much easier for them to encourage you to settle. It is the only way they get paid. Also understand that having a trial is no assurance of anything. You are not guaranteed to win at trial!!! Did you have four removal surgeries? That is what the value is based on….

    • Kitty says:

      I would like to know who IMPLANTED the 61. Is there anyway we can find out?

  16. Kitty says:

    Wow…61 devices in what time frame?

    • Jane Akre says:

      Basically none of the pelvic or hernia meshes were sold with clinical trials…. I’m surprised they only identified 61…The FDA’s 510(k) clearance does not require clinical trials as you know, … that is unless a device is classified as Class III high risk, Mesh is moderate risk class II. the only change was in January of last year the FDA reclassified POP mesh to High risk BUT gave the manufacturers 18 months to either conduct clinical trials OR submit evidence that would suffice. The implications is that without those assurances of safety and efficacy the mesh will not be cleared for sale. That is not until MID- 2019!!

      • Lordhelpus says:

        Why do they get to be the ones to classify and reclassify? Why don’t they leave it to the real experts at this, like uh, I don’t know, maybe us mesh victims!? The ones who have been personally injured by their garbage mesh?? Why can’t WE have a say in all of this? As a matter of fact we should be the ONLY ones who should have a say so, and not a bunch of know-it-all’s who know nothing at all….

  17. Kitty says:

    How could any respectable Dr. Implant a Class 3?

    • Still Standing says:

      Class III medical devices include pacemakers and heart valves. There would be a lot of dead people if respectable doctors decided to quit implanting them in their patients.

      • Kitty says:

        I believe there is clearance on pacemakers at al. I am sorry I called u a stoner for taking valium compounded suppositories…I am now a stoner. The spasms are so severe…I had no choice but to go that route.

        • Kitty says:

          Jane I know this is your site…but dont print anything if u censor and leave out salient info. Dead people??? There are a lot of dead people. I just spoke with a young woman who lost her soul mate to hernia mesh that was eroding thru his testicle. He is dead now…overdose they say.

          • Jane Akre says:

            Kitty- You are one of my favorite people, but please don’t take jabs at anyone else….. Not allowed here according to the rules I’ve imposed. I try not to leave out salient information, at least the information I think needs to be added. I also try not to focus on death here. Too damn depressing.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m so happy for these people. I hope they win their appeals just like Linda did. But please remember people there’s a lot of AMS victims to. There’s a lot of other companies that hurt women and have caused them to go through severe pain. I also thought that these trials were just to see how much are cases were worth. But I’ve been told that unless I go to court I will never see a decent settlement. So I guess they can either come up with a decent settlement or I guess I’ll wait another 5 years. I’ve been involved in this longer than that and still I wait for an offer from my demon company. I am not going to take pennies I would rather die first then let them screw me over one more time. I’m not going to take less than what my attorney would take. I wish some big news media would do a big story on this and wake people up so nobody else would be implanted with this dangerous material. The while I sit here completely disabled slowly losing my mind while my body dies a little each day. my mind is still strong but my body won’t let it do what it wants to do. so basically I feel like my life is over. But I will not let these people take anymore from me. I’ve advised my family also to continue to fight if I die before a settlement is reached. I can’t think of anything worse that could have happened to me. This is taking everything from me and these people don’t care. I think other people in the real world people like the jury know that we’ve been hurt through no fault of our own tragically hurt. And these companies should pay for what they did the lies they took and destroyed. I just keep praying for someday but I don’t think I’ll ever see it. And what’s sad is nobody will ever know what happened to us basically. And more women will continue to suffer as long as this material is on the market

  19. Teresa says:

    If all the women suffering from j&j products would boycott them,the CEO’s wouldn’t be making huge profits from our suffering.

  20. M L A says:

    I was recently told by 2 doctors that there is nothing wrong with the bladder meshes and they couldn’t be causing all the issues and pain I am having. When I asked for the second mesh to be removed due to the pain, I was asked how I knew that the mesh was the issue. First, I didn’t have all this mess before it was implanted. Second, I would have to live under a rock to not know what is going on with bladder mesh. Why don’t they know these issues?

    • Jane Akre says:

      Seems like it would be respectful for them to acknowledge you have some awareness of your own body……

    • Kitty says:

      You need to get to the best urogyn. You need to save up your money and get there…bus…train…plane. DON’T BE AFRAID JUST MAKE APPMT AND GO. THERE ARE TREATMENTS TO HELP US.

  21. Kitty says:

    Jane am I the only one that sees thru the SS???

  22. Tammy flowers says:

    My case is past seven years since filing and two months into the 8th year haven’t heard from attorneys in two years

  23. I’m just me says:

    My case is past seven years since filing and two months into the 8th year haven’t heard from attorneys in two years

  24. Rebecca says:

    If given an offer I herd that if I don’t accept offer that I had to pay thousands of dollars to continue, is that true. If I don’t accept offer I’m getting practically nothing . And I had 2 surgeries and one more to take it all out. What a bad offer.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Rebecca- it might be a good time to look at your retainer agreement… What does it say about going to trial? About rejecting an offer? Look at the fine print. Presumably, if there is cost involved, a personal injury firm carries that cost and takes it out of what you win. If your case is not successful, they collect nothing. It’s called a contingency agreement. See what your agreement says about that….. Thank you.

    • kitty says:

      what type of mesh did you have?

  25. Rebecca says:

    I had a tvt,gynecare..7 years ago. My settlement papers strongly want me to settle, I see no contingency wording anywhere. It says that a lot of women are taking a long time to settle and that we will not get anything until the last person on the MDL gets an offer and then we get our settlement. Is that. Fair to wait till then?be dead by then. This Christmas. I barely got thru dinner with out passing out because I sat to long my pelvis was hurting to much that my brother told me my face started to swell up I was turning red. I could feel myself slowly not getting enough oxygen to my brain. I scared everyone. I could not take any pain pills that day so I could drive home with out getting pulled over for being under the influence of pain meds. I don’t go out like I used to , too much sitting kills me. I don’t want to ruin everyone s Christmas. Driving hurts so bad as well. On my left groin area is like someone stabbing me with a knife and I can barely walk Tony front door of my home. Sorry I’m going on and on. No one cares to listen to me after 7 years of all of this. I don’t blame them. I’m like a broker record.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Rebecca, do you have adequate medical help? A Tv T removal? A good doctor? Please answer. Janeakre@Meshnewsdesk.com

      • Rebecca says:

        Yes two obgyn, surgeons 1st surgery to do partial removAL and the other is revision to fix my bladder with my own
        Fascia to use as a sling . Still need to
        Remove the arms but they won’t do it.
        Trying go get Dr raz. Hopefully next yr.

    • Kitty says:

      I don’t know what u got for an offer…but that is the same mesh that Linda Gross had. I would think your attorney could do some negotiation for u.

      • Rebecca says:

        Try ed getting a answer from my attorney but he has not called me yet. I got in for one surgery not both, so I submitted my documents again so they can classify me in the correct tier. Let’s see.

  26. Crystal says:

    A true blessing for this woman. I know she’d give it all back to be normal. Our life can’t be bought. I have the Desara Sling my issue is Caldera claimed their broke out of funds and the judge is agreeing to letting them off easy. Like I’m being offered $2,000 or less!!! Women with more than two surgery’s is getting a few more thousand. None of us getting millions, yet we all suffer the same pain, suffering, infections etc! We all deserve justice we need to rattle cages get answers!! My so called representative so called attorney has done nothing to advocate for me, it’s a take it or leave it attitude. I’m so infuriated over this entire Vaginal mesh product!!!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Its too bad you can’t go after ,,,financially,,,,the directors who made a faulty product, then didn’t have the resources to cover losses….they are shielded by their private corporation.

  27. Elizabeth W says:

    I grew up on jj products I lived in new Jersey write by the plant used talc since I was a littlt girl the schools even put it in out girl kits. Engaged to one of there mechanical engineers, after 3 kids I had bladder sling surgery, it failed in a few months but I was busy with overian cancer and a sick baby. Now ten years and even the Mayo clinic won’t touch me the mesh is my bladder I live we soo much pain infections bleeding no sex the Mayo gave me latacan to numb

    • Jane Akre says:

      Hi Elizabeth- I hope you have a lawyer… also please refrain from using talc for personal hygiene… Mazie Slater is in NJ and might take your case…..

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