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Multi-Plaintiff Hernia Mesh Case Against Atrium Medical Co. Will Proceed in California Court

Atrium Hernia Mesh

Atrium Hernia Mesh

By Dan C. Bolton and Farid Zakaria

Keller, Fishback & Jackson LLP

 

In June 2014, Keller, Fishback & Jackson LLP filed a multi-plaintiff case in California Superior Court against Atrium Medical Corporation (Atrium) and related corporate entities.

The eight plaintiffs underwent hernia repair surgery with polypropylene mesh manufactured by Atrium and later suffered serious complications, including chronic and debilitating pain, erosion, adhesions, organ and nerve damage, chronic inflammation, sexual difficulties and revision surgeries.

Shortly after the case was filed, the defendants removed (transferred) the case to federal court in the Northern District of California, contending that the federal district court had jurisdiction over the case. A case originally filed in state court must meet certain criteria before being transferred to federal court. One basis for transfer is where there is “complete diversity of citizenship” between the parties; that is, all of the plaintiffs and all of the defendants are “citizens” of different states. That is not the case, though, in this suit since at least one plaintiff and one defendant are from the same state.

Atrium Medical building

In a fourteen-page opinion issued on October 30, Blasco.OrderGrantingMotiontoRemand) Chief Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte ruled that the defendants improperly removed the case and that it must be sent back to Alameda Superior Court in California. Having failed in its dilatory tactic, Atrium must now concentrate on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims.

Polypropylene hernia mesh presents many of the same risks as transvaginal mesh, another dangerous medical device impacting thousands of women in the United States and currently the subject of nationwide litigation. Both products have undergone minimal regulatory scrutiny under a legal framework that does not require the submission of safety and efficacy data to the Food and Drug Administration.

The lawsuit against Atrium emphasizes that the warnings for hernia mesh are inadequate and conceal important safety information. In the product literature relating to polypropylene mesh, Atrium typically includes just one sentence about adverse reactions and no substantive discussion about the serious dangers of polypropylene mesh.

Polypropylene hernia mesh is frequently used in hernia repair surgery, though it is not always necessary given the likelihood of complications. Despite relentless marketing by manufacturers, many doctors steer away from polypropylene mesh and use a mesh-free procedure known as the Shouldice technique, which has been used for decades and has low rates of failure.

Manufacturers have touted mesh for hernia repair as safe and effective, yet published research has found high rates of serious complications. One researcher observed there have been many “reports of various degrees of degradation … stress cracking and mesh shrinkage along with infection, chronic inflammation and the stimulation of sclerosis (hardening of tissue).” The researcher concluded, “based on available evidence the polypropylene used for surgical treatment of various structural defects is not inert after implantation in the human body.”

In fact, a debilitating consequence of hernia repair with mesh is inguinodynia, or chronic groin pain. This condition results from the deformation of mesh after implantation, the persistent foreign body reaction that follows and entrapment of the nerves near mesh. The medical literature reports an extraordinarily high rate of chronic groin pain after hernia repair with mesh—in some reports approaching 50%, and even higher in others.

As a Harvard medical professor recently asked in the title of his medical journal article: “Why do we continue to perform mesh repair in the face of the human toll of inguinodynia?”

Despite the abundance of scientific and medical information in the published medical literature relating to the dangerous properties and serious risks of polypropylene mesh, the lawsuit asserts that the defendants have made a deliberate decision to aggressively market polypropylene mesh, to ignore the dangers, and to paint a misleading picture of safety and efficacy in the product information provided to physicians and patients. This lawsuit seeks to hold Atrium responsible for the resulting harm to the plaintiffs.

Dan C. Bolton is Of Counsel and Farid Zakaria is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Keller, Fishback & Jackson LLP. The firm represents plaintiffs nationwide in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, including hernia and transvaginal mesh, prescription drug, hip implant and power morcellation cases.  Mr. Bolton oversees the pharmaceutical and medical device practice. Mr. Zakaria has a background in molecular and cell biology.

 

 

11 Comments

  1. I will be following the reporting of this case closely… it is high time for PP hernia mesh to be scrutinized and the indiscriminate use of it challenged, and penalties given for the failure of mesh manufacturers to warn surgeons and patients of all the known risks…. thank you for keeping the reports easier to access

    • Sandra Aadland says:

      Please keep me in the loop. After hernia repair I started terrible cramping, fecal incontinence; dr won’t admit because CT scan says mesh is fine. My leg is “going” colon compromised and pulling and poking. I can’t get anyone to address. I also have 2 mesh in bladder and two from colorectal surgery which I didn’t need and infection led to hernia repair. I saw a dr who pulled and yanked everywhere on abdomen and now more pin like sensation. I’ve become a vegetable.

  2. Mary pat says:

    Truth comes to light!

  3. All Meshed Up says:

    It would be nice if the other 2 or 3 Hundred Thousand of us could ALSO sue for the damage done to us by PP mesh. I am going into my 8th year of mesh damage and I too have nerve pain, bulging etc but because of the obfuscation of the Law and Statute of Limitations, the Manufacturers are assured that most Mesh Victims will NOT be allowed to sue them. I am in correspondence with “New” Hernia mesh victims EVERYDAY as they slowly lose the life they had for their “New” life as a Mesh Victim. This is a problem that is getting bigger every day, with the Manufacturers, Doctors and the FDA ignoring us in the name of MONEY. Transvaginal mesh is in the news but Hernia Mesh Victims are pretty much ignored, even by the organizations that say they are fighting PP mesh. And Hernia Mesh is used on men AND on WOMEN with the same symptoms reported after implant but that fact is ignored by those organizations that should be inclusive of ALL Mesh Victims. It is time that PP mesh be the target for recall, investigations, prosecutions and incarceration. Hernia Mesh, TVT Mesh, SUI Mesh is all the same material and should be grouped as such. No more spot light on this mesh or that mesh! It needs to be ALL PP Mesh that needs to be targeted because it is too easy for the FDA to ignore one small group of “disgruntled” victims.

    8 Hernia Mesh victims is such a small number when compared to the MDL’s that have gone after Kugel/Bard and J&J. And for God’s sake, do not be satisfied or paid off with $4500! Your life as you knew it is GONE. Is $4500 all your life is worth? 6 figures should be the STARTING amount not the most you “could” get. The Manufacturers should not get away with these petty amounts when they make Billions of dollars.

    Now that we have a new Congress maybe we can get them to take a look at the FDA and their symbiotic relationship with the Manufacturers.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Absolutely- everyone needs to move forward together! I can’t really imagine your frustration but with women being so ignored AND an FDA warning, that frustration is 100 fold when the agency doesn’t even mention hernia mesh! Everything revealed in court applies to hernia mesh with the exception of “clean contaminated field” and perhaps some of the degree of movement. ~ ja

    • Sue says:

      Aloha,

      I agree!!! The Hernia Mesh Sufferers need to be heard and that means COURT!!! I was NEVER told about the dangers of Atrium Medical’s Poly Pro loop Hernia Mesh! I was only told the risk of dying from having surgery. NOTHING about how POLYPROPELENE is a Foreign material that can twist, and be rejected, and get infected, etc., etc.!!!! Five years in ever increasing pain. I was one of the eight in the Atrium Medical Case that got “thrown out”, due to some garbage about all of us living in different states. A way for Atrium Medical to get away with more people being subjected to the pain of their Pro Loop Mesh and Plug. If I had to do it over again KNOWING the risks, I would NEVER have let the Doctor put this garbage in me!!! Attorneys out there who can help???

  4. j bragg says:

    My son had 2 hernia ;although when we received the op report they had repaired 3 hernias without telling him! We contacted many lawyers who would NOT touch his case. We did find some lawyers in California to take his case but they have since declared he has to find a local attorney, which seems impossible in this Podunk town (state). He was 21years old and had been working 2 jobs,now he has problems walking! I have no clue how this is going to end.kif anyone has any suggestions please let us know. Oh! By the way the lawyers who would take these cases would be rolling in money!

  5. Sue says:

    Aloha,

    When will HERNIA Mesh be recalled??? I was praying for that in the Atrium Medical Poly Prop. Mesh and Plug case. The amount of money these companies have. When will all of us that are in CONSTANT PAIN BE HEARD??? The case was “thrown out” because we all live in different states? What kind of justice is that??? IT IS NO JUSITCE. I WISH SOMEONE COULD HELP THE HERNIA POLYPROPELENE MESH PEOPLE SOON!!! It is going on Five years for me of ever INCREASING PAIN. No one will take the mesh out that has any experience, and I have found nothing that helps the PAIN!! A lawsuit is needed!! Please any attorneys out there give Hernia Mesh patients their day in court.

    Sue

  6. Maria says:

    I’m a triple hernia with mesh sufferer, I had surgery 7 years ago & never told about the danger of mesh.. I had a sutcher removed 1 year after my surgery, I had a baby a year after that, which my doctor said would be fine but now 5 years after my daughter was born, I lost all my baby fat, I’m in alot of pain & had another sutcher removed on November 27, 2015.. And my doctor refusing to do anything else because the risks of reconstruction and removal of this mesh…

    • Jane Akre says:

      Maria-

      Do you have all of your medical records? Bruce Rosenberg is the best with hernia complication advice 954-701-5094. He is injured as well. Keep trying him.

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