Kavaler Expert Witness for J&J on Stand in Beltz Mesh Trial

//Kavaler Expert Witness for J&J on Stand in Beltz Mesh Trial

Kavaler Expert Witness for J&J on Stand in Beltz Mesh Trial

Dr. Eizabeth Kavaler, Medical Expert for J&J

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, May 17, 2017~ Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urogynecologist, appeared as an expert witness for Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, in a Philadelphia product liability trial over transvaginal mesh Wednesday.

The defense presented her as a medical expert in the case of Beltz v. Ethicon.

[*UPDATE-  The Beltz case has now gone to the jury.  Stay with MND for the verdict! ]

She has been presented as a defense expert witness in the trial of Linda Gross, and Joan Budke, women injured from their pelvic mesh implants (Budke’s injury was fatal), as well as other plaintiff actions on behalf of Johnson & Johnson.

Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a New York city based urogynecologist, appeared again Wednesday as a medical expert for Ethicon in the case of Beltz v. Ethicon.  Beltz etal vs Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology, Case ID: 130603835).

On September 20, 2006, Sharon Beltz was implanted with the Ethicon Prolift System to treat pelvic organ prolapse. Her surgeon was Dr. Heather Van Raatle, MD at St. Lukes Hospital in Bethlehem, PA.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

On that same day, Beltz was implanted with the Gynecare (Ethicon) TVT System to treat incontinence.

The Beltz trial began in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on May 8th, and the jury is now listening to the defense side of events.


In the Linda Gross trial, Dr. Kavaler testified that pelvic mesh does not move around within the pelvic area.

“It does not have a life of its own,” she said. See Mesh News Desk coverage here. 

Adam Slater, Feb. 2013

Courtesy Courtroom View Network

Dr. Kavaler had conducted a medical exam on Ms. Gross.

In August 2013, the Gross case resulted in an $11.1 million verdict for the South Dakota nurse.

J&J appealed and has exhausted the appeals process and the award should finally be awarded to the family soon.

Kavaler has been an expert witness for at least 25 cases for Johnson & Johnson and  Ethicon concerning pelvic mesh made by the healthcare giant.

Plaintiff attorney, Adam Slater recounted her deposition where she said she “was a big mesh user.”

That is what got her the attention of Dr. Vincent Lucente, an Ethicon consultant, who introduced her to Ethicon. Dr. Kavaler was driven to the company headquarters and attended a dinner in the Meat Packing District in New York City where she said she wanted to talk to other doctors.

After first being contacted by Ethicon in 2009 she began teaching courses for the company on the use of another mesh, Prosima.  She was also hired to proctor a cadaver lab.

Kavaler admitted during the Gross trial that Ethicon was not informing surgeons about mesh complications, mesh removals or even what to expect when a polypropylene mesh goes wrong.

Dr. Daniel Elliott

According to sources close to the case, the first witness on behalf of Ms. Beltz was Dr. Daniel Elliott, urologist from the Mayo Clinic,  by video. He also appeared in the Hammons trial.

Medical expert Dr. Tom Margolis, MD also appeared. He is one of the few doctors in the country specializing in pelvic mesh complications and revisions at his San Francisco area office. See it here.



So far J&J has suffered a string of losses in this venue.  The last three trials resulted in wins for the Plaintiff including – $12.5 million (Hammons),   $13.5 million (Carlino) and on April 28th $20 million for Ms. Engleman.

Read the MND story of the Engleman trial here.  MDN on Carlino here.  Read the MND story on Hammons case here.

There are nearly 200 pelvic mesh product liability cases filed in this Philadelphia state court waiting for trial.

Most name as a defendant Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson or Gynecare, all divisions of J&J. Boston Scientific, another mesh manufacturer, is also named in a number of other product liability cases filed here.

The Beltz case could go to the jury this week. ###


By |2017-06-01T20:45:15+00:00May 18th, 2017|News|51 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. daniee May 18, 2017 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Dr. Kavaler practiced and teached with cadavers…ok you practiced with lifeless bodies and of course the devise is not going to move around, because it is a cadaver.
    Dr. Kavaler , please have common sense…

    • Kitty May 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      That is really a joke. I remember when I practiced A &P on my dead cat. Took it all over..even on the train. Whoa. Don’t kill me because I did it to a cat.

      • Kitty May 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm - Reply

        Just to clarify …the cat was provided by the school. I don’t kill cats and it was ages ago.

  2. Diana May 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Is anyone out there who have been notified of there settlement offer feeling as if they just got a slap in the face?

    • Kitty May 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Not yet

    • Kitty May 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Were u 1 of the 400 Diana?

      • Diana May 18, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

        I really do not know.A lot of this, I do not know.but I do know and understand that the settlement amount offered, is a joke!

        • Deborah June 1, 2017 at 7:23 am - Reply

          Offer on table is a big joke….

          • Deborah June 1, 2017 at 7:27 am

            They don’t want to count adhesion surgeries and don’t care about my quality of life and constant pain, infections, medications for the rest of my life. They knew it was wrong and we are all paying the price for several years! The amount they are offering wont even pay for bills or meds I need the rest of my life let along the quality of life and life shortened by all of this.

    • Dj May 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Yes still stings

    • Lisa May 22, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

      I had (5) Mesh kits put in at the same time. Mesh Migrated & have had several reparation surgeries. Offered $20,000 for life altering Injuries.!

      • Lisa May 22, 2017 at 9:14 am - Reply

        I never stop hurting. I am sick all the time. Severe internal damage & nerve damage. Every aspect of my life has changed. Spend majority of my time in bed, as the pain is debilitating.! Can’t eat, can’t sleep, it hurts to move. Medications are ruining my teeth.! I was so active, had horses, played golf, & more.

        • Lisa May 22, 2017 at 9:25 am - Reply

          Mesh, has Stolen any Quality of Life I had & could have, my health, is gone. Injuries are severe, damaged organs, muscles, severe nerve damage, can’t ever have an intimate relationship. This all started back in 2007! I was forced onto Disability. So much more. Feels like something always needs to come out of me.

        • Diana May 22, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

          I also am like you Lisa. Where is the justice?

          • Diva64 May 26, 2017 at 2:00 am

            Is there any such thing as Justice I think it is a false word made up and is just a big business courts and attorneys $$ for them

    • Danni May 24, 2017 at 2:53 am - Reply

      Yes I do! They came up with an amount they think is doable and if I sgn they won’t have to pay punitive damages. I’m insulted. They knew it was defective, but yet still sold it. That’s negligent at best!!!

    • Diva64 May 26, 2017 at 1:56 am - Reply

      Recently I received an offer and I actually considered sucide ,I was that upset, I had Mesh Implaned in me in 2002.
      I have gone to doctors in severe pain for years before I even knew about Mesh Complications, I have been humiliated, blown off, now it is we don’t see the Mesh ,even one highly recommend urigyncologist blew me off he didn’t like what Medicare paid , stopped taking Medicare as soon as he dropped me. I absolutely can t believe the Mesh Manufactures and the attorneys can even possibly think we are valued at such low amounts of compensation, makes me want to attend the next annual meeting of the Manufacture of the Mesh in me,

  3. Lordhelpus May 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Lol, so they all met at the meat packing district where there were slaughter houses “everywhere” once upon a time…how appropriate a name. So she was a big mesh user…huh?, was it because she herself actually had it implanted several times or is she admitting that she has “butchered” a good amount of victims herself, and is she trying to say that her patients have never had a single problem with the mesh? Please, do people still get sworn in, in court?…Wow, I guess it’s all part of the, “The Hipocritic Oath Game.” Tisk tisk…

    • Diana May 18, 2017 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      I agree! No shame, money hungry,and greedy!

  4. Victim Forever May 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    My pelvic mesh had a wrinkle under the bottom…my implant surgeon never told me…but two other doctors found it. So how did it wrinkle?
    I truly believe implementation was a hack job by a surgeon who was careless and driven by quantity of TVM for monetary gain.

  5. Kitty May 19, 2017 at 5:53 am - Reply

    Oh yes… that is so metaphoric that she started at the Slaughter House. Good thought LHU

  6. Jane Akre May 19, 2017 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Researcher findsthis case Poblador v Kavaler from July 2013, where Dr. K left a sponge in a patient then did not do an adequate record keeping or assessment. She is denied summary judgment, meaning the case went forward. See:

    She also did post graduate fellowship under Sr. Shlomo Raz:

    • lordhelpus May 19, 2017 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Whoa! That’s who they got for a witness?? If someone like that is found to be credible enough, then that speaks volumes about our justice system…What the heck?? That’s like telling a criminal to go ahead and be his own judge!! #twilightzonebound

      • Kitty May 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm - Reply


        • Sheryl May 21, 2017 at 6:38 am - Reply

          Kitty, I went through 3 years of back and hip hell…and after persistant physician follow up (after mesh…having to use a foot sling for early foot drop, multiple injections into my hip and S.I. joint, was falling all the time and my hips labrum wore away) BE CERTAIN YOU AREN’T SUFFERING FROM AN UNSTABLE PELVIS CAUSED BY THE MESH INJURIES!) YOU WILL HEAR ALL SORTS OF REASONS…BUT YOU TOO BE PERSISTANT IF YOU FEEL THE MESH IS THE CAUSE. I WENT TO AN EXCELLENT SURGEON hour away WHO AGREED IT WAS from a mesh ligament injury AND HE HAD TO IMPLANT ME WITH PELVIC/S.I. joint rods and it literally saved my life!

          • Kitty May 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

            SherylThank. U. I have had mutiple adjustments for unstable pelvis. Thank u so much for info

          • K May 25, 2017 at 6:29 pm

            I think this is my problem. What Dr did you go to and where?

  7. Kitty May 20, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Dr Raz and Dr Elliot are gifted surgeons….one can study under them..but unless they have the “gift”……they cannot be on the same level. Example…. I had a urologist that studied under him…she did a good job scrapping and trying to clean up the mess. .but she lied..you wouldn’t believe the lies she told me. She had to lie or she would have lost her career. I can’t say more at this time.

  8. JoAnn May 20, 2017 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I have had two put in. Neither one worked. No not two different surgeries. They put in two at the same time. I still have to walk around trying to get thru each day. Been waiting four years for something. Big drug companies don’t want to pay for their incompetence. The only thing I get is further into debt.

    • Jane Akre May 21, 2017 at 8:27 am - Reply

      two transvaginal meshes at the same time? One for incontinence and one for pop?

      • Dj May 21, 2017 at 10:38 am - Reply

        I was implanted with 5 different mesh devices from 4 difference companies at one time in 2005 the same doc told me I needed it removed but he couldn’t do it.He referred me to another doc It’s been pure hell since 2005

      • JoAnn May 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm - Reply

        I don’t know why two. Just was told they put in two.

  9. Joe G May 22, 2017 at 3:19 am - Reply

    One thing that upsets me is the lack of informing about possible side effects. I would have taken the chance a non mesh fix might relapse a hernia over the chronic pain of mesh. No options, no information.

  10. Debb May 22, 2017 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Two surgeons have told me ‘it doesn’t move’ among other lies. My response as is well mine moved through my skin into my vagina and I felt it’ so really? If it wasn’t moving then how did it get to coming out of me? I wish each and everyone of these people who stand up in court swearing these lies against us had to put this stuff inside them! You can bet they wouldn’t be there for the ones who put this in us. They’d be another of the thousands of mesh injured! This is epidemic. And will go down in history as the worst autrocity to women in the 21st century.

    • Jane Akre May 22, 2017 at 8:17 am - Reply

      Then why have women found mesh in their bladder if it doesn’t move around? Or picked it out of their skin? Agreed about atrocity!

    • Terri May 22, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

      The same thing happened to me. I’m sure that we aren’t medical anomalies. Facts dont lie! Unlike some witnesses we know.

  11. Anon May 22, 2017 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Where is our Justice System?

    • lordhelpus May 24, 2017 at 6:57 am - Reply

      It’s still there…mostly there for the “rich-n’-crooked”…but it’s still there…

      • Anon May 24, 2017 at 9:03 am - Reply

        ???? So True Lordhelpus!……..We are receiving the amount of justice that we can afford.

  12. Linda May 22, 2017 at 11:41 am - Reply

    I had one put in and the surgeon put it in too tight and made my pelvic bone curve inwards. I also have had shots in places for pain that the attorneys for Ethicon would never have. I have had so many UTI’s that it’s the first thing they check at the hospital.

  13. Jimmy May 24, 2017 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I cannot believe the petty amount they just offered my poor mother. All that suffering for that! Then they tell my mother that her lawyer doesnt go to court for these cases. WHAT A F*CKING JOKE!!!!!!

  14. Anon May 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Not sure how much they are offering but if your lawyer won’t fight for you in court. Tell them to fire you and get a lawyer who will. Mine said something about 50 k and also told me I have a good case. Not acceptable and that JNJ would either get realistic or we wait and go to court. He said it could take a long time to get to court. I’ve already waited 4 plus yrs. I’ve been through 4 surgeries in 3 yrs. Not including implant back in 06. I need more surgeries but have no ins lost my job through all of this. Just living week to week. This madness has to end soon. Its a travesty what they knowingly did. Its no better that our government FDA and judicial system is allowing it. Yes they deserve their day in court but they have had it many many times and been proven liable. Hey is that not why we are in bell weather cases to set an amount a jury finds appropriate.

    • Jane Akre May 24, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Bellwethers are supposed to show the relative value of a case… if you follow that logic, the first Bellwether, Linda Gross was $11.1 million. Is that the relative value of a Prolift case? Sadly that’s now what is happening…Go to court? is your law firm prepared to take you to court? Have they done so before?

      • Advocate May 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

        A small correction to your statement about bellwether trials. They DO NOT show the relative value of the case or cases. The bellwethers establish injury, causation and the liability of the defendant, if any.

        As to attorneys taking these cases to trial when an offer is being rejected, there needs to be an understanding. The intent of those taking these cases is to again, go to trial on a few of them and drive up the settling offers from the defendants. There are law firms all over the country, who in past torts, held their clients out of the settlements because they felt they could squeeze a bit more money out of the defendants. Some were successful while others failed dramatically.

        In those instances, the plaintiff was left with nothing. In fact, some states allow defense to have their fees reimbursed by the plaintiff if trial returns less money than the amount of settlement rejected. Don’t be misled; believing that means everyone would get a big settlement number in those cases taken to trial. Slightly more perhaps than current settlement offers, but not bellwether numbers.

        This should be somewhat obvious, since so many think the attorneys are greedy. Does the attorney firm make more on 1 million dollars or 100 thousand? Obviously the answer is a million. So why wouldn’t they want to take every one of the cases to trial?

        • Kitty May 31, 2017 at 6:09 pm - Reply

          So…..that is depressing

        • Anon June 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm - Reply

          Advocate………… for whom?
          I was permanently (injured) by Mesh.
          Mesh (caused) my permanent injuries.
          These manufacturers are (liable) for the catastrophic injuries that their defective products (caused) and that will continue to harm/damage our bodies for the rest of our lives, even after complete explants, if possible. Our permanent injuries and our lives are definitely worth more than just a few measly thousands just to move this tort along.
          You are Your best Advocate………Keep fighting
          (Weigh every comment)

  15. Emmie May 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Any news on the Beltz trial?

    • Jane Akre May 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks for asking. I ask every day and I was told closing would be Wednesday but Now I believe it could be Thursday or Friday…. or they could settle before it goes to the jury,, something J&J is known to do. Stay tuned… I’m trying. Wish I was there@#%^&& Is anyone in Philadelphia who could pop into the court?

  16. Linda May 25, 2017 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I am being readmitted to the hospital today. For pelvic pain and continuous vomiting. I wonder how much of this is related to my mesh implant that was removed. $50,000 won’t even pay my medical bills. The attorney has to get their cut. 50,000 better be on top of the attorneys fees and medical bills. I am disabled and could use 50,000 but I think 18 times in the hospital last year alone adds up to more than $50,000!

  17. Anon May 25, 2017 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Keep praying and keep fighting to get the financial help you need for life. The power of prayer can change matters, I live it every day.

    • Kitty June 2, 2017 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      Anon agreed. This is our cross to bare.

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