Philadelphia Prolift Mesh Case Yields $12.85 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

//Philadelphia Prolift Mesh Case Yields $12.85 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

Philadelphia Prolift Mesh Case Yields $12.85 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

Mesh News Desk, December 22, 2015 ~ After negotiating for less than 24 hours, the 12 jurors in the case of a Patricia Hammons, implanted with a Prolift pelvic mesh made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), added to her $5.5 million compensatory award with $7 million in punitive damages bringing her total jury award to $12.85 million. 

According to a report in (here), the seven women and five male jurors made that award to Patricia Hammons, 65, a store stocker at Walmart from Indiana.

Punitive damages are intended to send a message to a company to stop its behavior.

Hammons claimed that her pelvic damages are permanent and the Prolift cannot be removed causing her chronic infection, pain, repeated surgeries and an inability engage in sex. The polypropylene implant is implanted to treat incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.

Tarek Ismail, attny for J&J

Tarek Ismail, attny for J&J

During closing arguments, attorney for Ethicon, a subsidiary of J&J,  Tarek Ismail of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum told the jury, “It stings to be told by members of our community that we didn’t meet their expectations,” referring to Philadelphia’s proximity to J&J headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In a turn of events, Ismail said the Prolift was taken off the market three years ago indicating the company acted appropriately after it learned of the risks.

The corrective action has already been taken,” Ismail is quoted by The Legal Intelligencer.

Ironically when Prolift and three other meshes were removed from the market, Matthew Johnson a spokesman for J&J (no relation), cited financial reasons for the product removal, not safety or efficacy.

Matthew Johnson, J&J Corporate Communications

Matthew Johnson, J&J Corporate Communications

Johnson told Pharmalot that “This is not a product recall. We continue to have confidence in the safety and efficacy of these products. Our decision to discontinue these products is based on their commercial viability in light of changing market dynamics, and is not related to safety or efficacy.” 

During punitive phase deliberations, the financial worth and size of the company was presented.

Johnson & Johnson earns about $70 billion a year, but Prolift reportedly made only $4.2 million in sales between 2005 and 2012, according to an accountant with J&J. The $5.5 compensatory award given to Ms. Hammons Monday exceeds company profits for the medical device, he said.

Judge Mark Bernstein presided over the case in the Philadelphia Court of Common  where 181 other pelvic mesh cases are pending. Adam Slater of Mazie Slater and Shanin Specter of Kline& Specter represented Ms. Hammons.


This was the first pelvic mesh case to be heard in this court.  It is also the first time the Prolift Pelvic Floor Repair System has been found defectively designed and that J&J failed to warn doctors about the dangers it understood were inherent with the product.

This jury trial marks the first time in Johnson & Johnson pelvic mesh litigation that there has been any mention of document destruction by the company to jurors.  J&J destroyed thousands of pages of documents that were on a litigation hold to help plaintiffs prepare for litigation, according to a conclusion by West Virginia Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert.  So far that fact was never allowed to be mentioned before a jury.

During the two-and-a half week trial, J&J research and development engineer Scott Ciarrocca said the company had not considered how to remove the mesh if there were any complications.

Prolift was marketed in June 2005 bypassing any notification to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It wasn’t until three years later when the company wanted to put Prolift M+ on the market that the FDA had any awareness of the Prolift mesh kit.  There were no sanctions imposed for bypassing the FDA approval process.

This marks the second time Prolift mesh has been the subject of a product liability trial. In 2013, the case of Linda Gross led to $11.1 million in compensatory damages for Ms. Gross.  The couple from South Dakota has not seen their compensation since their case is still on appeal.

The Prolift trial of the late Joan Budke ended with a settlement last January after her 91-year-old husband took the stand weeping over his lost “bride.” Ms. Budke, 77, died of a systemic infection that originated at the site of the pelvic mesh implant.

Ethicon has failed to return repeated email requests for a comment by Mesh News Desk.

Product liability litigation over Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon pelvic mesh implants are scheduled in rapid succession during the first four months of 2016.#


The Launch of Prolift Pelvic Mesh- What the Company Knew, MND January 9, 2015

Ethicon Stops Selling Four Pelvic Meshes, June 2012


By | 2018-09-05T15:12:50+00:00 December 22nd, 2015|News|54 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. stopmeshimplants December 22, 2015 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Yesssss! So glad for Ms. Hammons! Keep these verdicts coming for all of the plaintiffs. Her attorney’s did a wonderful job sharing the facts of this case. Feeling like there is a little hope out there for the rest of us.

  2. anonymous December 22, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Great news absolutely fantastic

  3. K December 22, 2015 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    It stings to here you didn’t meet our expectations??? Are you kidding me??? You have ruined many many many lives J&J!!!! You only feel a sting but we have felt much more than a sting!!! Unbelievable comment!!!! Actually, I don’t believe they feel anything!

    • K December 23, 2015 at 5:58 am - Reply


  4. anna December 23, 2015 at 12:26 am - Reply

    j&J karma is a b___ch, and you will pay eventualy. If i die tomorrow I will be celebrating your destruction from heaven.

  5. karen December 23, 2015 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Thanks jane ur wonderful

    Congratulations on this win!!!!!!!!!!

    There’s nothing wrong with conquering these dictators that hurt women for profit !!!!!!

  6. susann December 23, 2015 at 2:58 am - Reply

    This mesh has ruined my life. I’m happy for her settlement. Attorneys get 40%. I don’t think any amount can fix emotional heartache. It sure has cost more then that for me. Permanent damages took away my womanhood.

    • Bejah Blue December 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Dear Susann, I know how you feel but know that nothing can take away your “womanhood” dear, because it is in your soul, it comes from there. When I had a total hysterectomy (Endometrisos) the surgeon who was one of the best in San Diego, (all the nurses and female physicians went to him) he said something to me at my follow up appt. that upset me a lot. I asked the nurse to leave the room so I could have a private chat with him. He had told me that I no longer had any organs that defined me as a woman as opposed to just plain old human being. I do not remember his exact words or mine but I told him that was wrong, and it was cruel and I advised him to never say that to another woman. He took me very seriously. Because he is a good guy he was able to take it in stride and think about it very seriously. I know he took it to heart and never did say that to another woman. Because something has been removed or damaged that does not render you a neuter because your soul is female. Take care,


  7. Hal Lewis December 23, 2015 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Admissibility of “Document Destruction” by J&J is going to be HUGE in every trial.

    THANK YOU to this Judge for having the bal… errr, courage… to allow this into evidence!!

    Hopefully this ruling can be followed by every other Judge in every other J&J case.

    Because jurors HATE anythings that smells like a cover up.

    And why would J&J try to cover up something that wasn’t defective, etc.?

    • Bejah Blue December 23, 2015 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Hal, Thanks for your post and position statement. Good to hear from the gentlemen on our side.


  8. Hal Lewis December 23, 2015 at 8:38 am - Reply


    I know you were illegally and improperly barred from reporting on the Sherrer v. Boston Scientific case in Missouri…

    but can you at least give us an update on what you have heard as far as when we might expect a verdict in that one?


    • Jane Akre December 23, 2015 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Hi Hal-

      The case was deferred until after the new year so nothing is happening now. Thank you. I will soon have a story on my inclusion…… This issue is NOT going away.

  9. Debbie Edwards December 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Merry Christmas jane, I am wondering if having the documents brought up in this trial if that will set precedence for further trials? Or is it up to each individual judge rule on it? Thank you for all you do for us, your site is a blessing to us. Merry Christmas and happy new years to all.

    • Jane Akre December 23, 2015 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      Good question which I dont really know the answer to but very soon there will be a succession of Ethicon trials as well as a Boston Scientific in January. We will see very soon the answer to that question. I will ask when I get an opportunity or ask your attorneys. That’s what they are there for….

    • Bejah Blue December 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      Debbie, I believe that absolutely it can be brought up in every trial, that is why Hal was so encouraged. Once there is a ruling that can be called up to justify bringing the same data into a similar trial at least that is my understanding and I feel pretty sure it is true. I suppose one would be required to demonstrate the similarities in the cases which should not be too difficult. This could be very significant for us all. Be prepared to watch JnJ squirm in 2016. But remember it is still a battle, still a war. We must continue to be vigilant.


  10. Mary Pat December 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Jane – you have the persistence of a pit bull and the heart of a mother lion. We are all behind you! You have our prayers, our hopes, and our support! Keep us posted on how we can help!

    • Jane Akre December 23, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      Thank you Mary Pat…. others may call it stubbornness……..I hate injustice!

  11. Linda December 23, 2015 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    This case is a big success!! Congratulations to the family and the attorney’s for getting the truth out about destruction of records. It’s a nice way to wrap up the year. May 2016 be filled with success of the up-coming trials. This woman deserves to be compensated as do all mesh survivors!

    Thanks Jane for fighting with us Happy Holiday’s

  12. Bejah Blue December 23, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Dear Jane, Just want to be sure to wish you a very happy Christmas. Nice to have a bit of good news at this point for us all.


    • Jane Akre December 23, 2015 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Bejah and all pleased have a peaceful holiday season and the best of health to all!

  13. Don't give up December 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jane, Merry Christmas to you and everybody else and let’s hope the New Year brings lots more victories for you ladies and my wife like this one.

    Best wishes to all hope you all have a pain free Christmas and have a wonderful day with family and friends.

  14. Deb J December 24, 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Wish I could say that this case shows “light at the end of our tunnel”….but our tunnel doesn’t end. I do feel a ray of hope that judges and jurors are showing empathy for our situation, AND holding manufacturers accountable – as they should be!!! My life has changed, directly as a result of 2 surgeries, with a 3rd looming; I struggle with staying positive for my family and for myself, hope and pray that when my case is heard I also have fair jurors and a fair judge, it is scary to think that my future is in their hands. Wishing Jane and all posters a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year!

    • Bejah Blue December 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Deb, Hang in there. Do let us know how surgery #3 goes as soon as you feel up to it. We’ll be praying for ya’.


  15. Dorothy Carpenter December 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Jane you deserve all the blessings that come your way. No one has worked harder than you. God Bless you your family, I know you have a great crew helping you, and they are so cute. Peace to all the contributors who pour their heart’s out, helps all of us. Thank You.

    • Jane Akre December 25, 2015 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      You are very kind Dorothy, thank you! I keep repeating, if this story was on the front pages of the papers, I probably wouldn’t feel compelled to continue… am still trying to make that happen.

  16. Disgusted December 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Merry Christmas to all!

    I find myself becoming angry with the system. So much injustice. Her case is going to be appealed and who knows what will happen? As the majority of these cases have shown, the wins are large, especially compared to the settlements being offered. I thought the bellwethers were supposed to somehow give us a bargaining chip. Seems to be a waste of time. Can anyone give an explanation of what is really happening with all the time these are taking? And still I ask, why aren’t there any criminal charges pending? Money set aside for litigation is “just the cost of doing business”. What a crock. It assumes there is no “real damage” done. We know different. We have suffered and lost so much. We live in the land of the freedom of speech. But are being shown that even this can be squashed. There must be some sort of answer to all this. I know the Almighty God will have the last say. We are in the land of the living, there must be something that can be done that isn’t illegal. There really are not enough of us to make a dent in their power. 100,000 sounds like a huge number, until you compare it with the population.


    • Jane Akre December 25, 2015 at 11:44 pm - Reply

      Disgusted, remember Christine Scott held on to wait for the appeals process to run its course. She did finally receive her jury award, at least part of it! The case against the doctor is still ahead I understand. So miracles do happen!

      • Bejah Blue December 29, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

        Jane, A lovely Christmas message and the truth of it makes it even more powerful. Thank you for this jewel of truth. I am certain many will be comforted by it.


    • K December 26, 2015 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      Disgusted, I feel the exact same way and I believe the judge has allowed cases to be postponed and is allowing this to drag on while many suffer. I don’t have much hope and faith that the 39 cases postponed this December to April 2016 will happen in April. This will drag on for years because those in power allow it to drag on by postponing the cases. Very few bellwether trials have been tried and the results have changed nothing in the MDL. The justice system seems terribly flawed.

      • Maria Garcia December 28, 2015 at 4:45 am - Reply

        K –

        This coming New Year will be the year of change with the J&J Ethicon trials because of Judge Goodwin. During the many status conferences, Judge Goodwin made J&J aware of the consequences of stalling and undermining the “Bellwether” process. He warned that if the Bellwether process was not taken serious that there would be action taken from the bench. What Judge Goodwin came up with at first I did not understand. How can 200 cases in two separate waves be handled in a court that has no room on a docket for years? Judge Goodwin is remanding the cases back to a federal court in the State each plaintiff is from. 2016 is going to be huge for Plaintiffs with case after case forcing J&J to have attorneys everywhere. The message to J&J from Judge Goodwin is their are consequences for disrespecting the Court, Plaintiffs and the Bellwether process.

        Jane – We all needed Mrs. Hammons to win and God’s timing is perfect. I literally felt a release and a spirit of thankfulness which was the best Christmas present. I know you see how great 2016 will be and I understand the frustration everybody feels each time a case gets bumped further down the road. I cannot put into words how thankful I am for MND and what you have done for us all. Where would we be without you? We would all have ulcers and find it harder to have hope. God is still on His throne and MND makes my Spirit soar!

        • kitty December 28, 2015 at 11:27 am - Reply

          HERE HERE!!

        • K December 28, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

          Maria, I agree as long as he doesn’t allow them to be postponed. That is what has been holding everything up. almost every case has been pushed back for months. They shouldn’t be given any slack forced to try these cases making them to settle so we can pay for the help each one of us needs. Mrs. Hammons win was huge and I pray for many more big wins!

        • Jane Akre January 4, 2016 at 11:41 am - Reply

          Maria Garcia- I would like to speak with you…. could you please contact me at

  17. kitty December 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    I just took out more life insurance. Two years to wait for pay out— unless the plane goes down. Just hanging on and spinning the drain.

    • Jane Akre December 30, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Kitty, hang in there… this may be the year coming up! I’m so sorry…

      • kitty December 31, 2015 at 12:23 am - Reply

        OK. Jane.

        • Bejah Blue December 31, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

          Happy New Year to us all, and God bless us, every one. And a special greeting to Kitty and all of us who know the “drain” analogy oh so well. if we are not circling physically we are circling emotionally or even spiritually and then suddenly we are uplifted by something often mysterious or as simple as sleep and we carry on. A big cyber hug for Kitty and here’s to great expectations for 2016!


          • kitty January 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm

            You are 2 kind Bejah. Luv u 2. Just about to go for a Virginia New Years Dinner– black Eyed Peas collards and ham. BET THEY DON’T DO THAT IN California. Just a visitor–didn’t make it to Pennsylvania Ave. Happy New Year to Jane and 3all of you dear friends of MND.

  18. Lyndsey January 3, 2016 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    I am glad that this trial ended in the favor of all of us damaged by these transvaginal ‘products’ but I am having a very difficult time feeling good about it. My mesh was placed in 2008, by a surgeon that after exaggerating my condition, held my hand and looked me and my husband in our eyes and declared “If you were MY wife this is what I would do.”

    I am now unemployed and receive disability. Thank God my husband is still with me but he is very Angry and my son’s have never Played soccer with their formally fit and athletic mother. And….. Ms. Gross who has been fortunate enough to see her trial date, still awaits her court ordered reward. Why? Because the fees paid to lawyers are far less than J&J is making by waiting. Eventually they will pay a fraction of what my health, family, and husband are/were worth. The judges and lawyers for both sides will shake hands and walk away but by then my ‘settlement’ will never be enough to replace what I have lost and I sincerely doubt it will cover the travel and medical care for the next surgery.

    I am sorry but as an optimistic realist, I think we need to be clear. None of us are going to receive a 12 million dollar settlements. 8 years of my life have been dominated by this one mistake. I trusted my doctor, who either trusted his medical sales rep waaaay too much or didn’t care. I pray that we all receive, financially, what J&J stole from us. Just don’t depend on that to move on, to keep living, to quit being angry….. That is way too much to ask and there isn’t enough money in the world to pay for those things.

    • L. Bertino January 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      That’s exactly what happened to me. And you are very right on everything you said about your doctor. If I can take it back I wouldn’t have had it done!!! My bladder problem before the surgery wasn’t even that bad to think about it now!!! So regret it! Ruined my life financially, mentally and physically. I am so sad inside, but I have to keep plugging away because of my kids.

  19. L. Bertino January 4, 2016 at 4:23 am - Reply

    I had a bladder mesh implant in 2009. 3-4 months after I started having pain in groin/pelvic area and I never thought it was from the mesh implant. Having numbness and intermittent severe pain that radiates down to my legs. I went to the doctor and did all kinds of testing/scan/MRI and nothing really specific showed. I continue to suffer then I started having bladder infections. I was put on antibiotic but only helps for a little while then it’s back. Anyway, finally referred to female urology and from there on had 4 surgeries total. I was never the same woman ever since I started having pain and infections and specially after my surgeries. My last surgery was July 2015 and until now my left side vaginal/groin has nerve damaged (still numb) and painful at the same time. But the worse part is, my sexual relationship with my husband affected our relationship tremendously. I was 40 when I had the surgery. For the last 6 years since the surgery, not only my credit was ruined due to medical bills and unemployment. Lost a lot of income that I could have saved for my daughters college. I am now struggling to support my 2 daughters and myself. My legal representative group said it will take a while. I learned that the mesh implant I had was ethicon by J&J and still in litigation. Awaiting for result!!!☹️

    • Kitty January 7, 2016 at 11:40 am - Reply

      cleaarly, clearly—it was transvaginal mesh that contributed to yoiur demise. so sorry. I still have my husband–we are old though

      • Kitty January 7, 2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

        If I had to do it over I would wear very very tighty whities and use a pessary. We were given a beautiful booklet by “Krames” It was a glorious pretty comic type book —that all would be well—just no lifting for 2 months or whatever.

  20. abbie english January 4, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I want justice!

  21. susan January 12, 2016 at 12:18 am - Reply

    I received a good news letter saying that my claim was in the settlement stage, and I would be receiving a claim packet. It could take up to but not longer then 18 months. Apparently they are assigning a Magistrate to determine everyone’s settlement amount due to the medical records. I had J&J ethicon. Apparently 2900 women were selected. I was one of them. Waiting is killing me.

    • Andrea January 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Susan ,can I ask, who is your attorney?

      • L. Bertino January 18, 2016 at 11:57 am - Reply

        Grossman and Sanders

    • L. Bertino January 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      I am happy for you. I hope it will be resolved soon. Good luck!

  22. L. Bertino January 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Every time I called my attorney’s office which is every few months, I have a new case worker. The last time I called in November or December and left a message, no one called me back yet!!!

  23. Shirley January 22, 2016 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    I thought I had a case against j/j but my lawyer told me he wasn’t going to trail on my case he was going to do my case by it self I had mind surgery in 2010 now he says I have no case because I couldn’t get a doctor to undo the surgery but the lady I talk to in he’s office said they haven’t found a doctor to undo it that sound rigth to ya”ll

    • L. Bert January 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Wow! Sorry to hear that. Mine was a bladder sling by J&J ethicon. What happened was the sling was embedded in my groin muscle area that was causing a lot of pain and numbness that radiates down to my back and legs. I had to have a surgery and basically the surgeon had to dissect the pieces of sling from my muscles. So initially the right side was bothering me not want he left so they didn’t do the left side. After a year or so I had to get it done cuz it causing the same problem. Now my medical problems is one hundred times worse before all these sling stuff was placed. Regret it so much!!!!! I now have scar tissue pain and numbness in private areas I can never regain. Put me in debts, losts jobs over it or can’t work cuz of the side effects it caused. Struggling to survive with my daughters financially. I’m so sad. No quality of life, just because I fell for that offer the doctor recommended!!! But they are all in it together of course with the pharmaceutical to use it people to make money!!!! ☹☹

      • Shirley January 24, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

        I to had a lot of pain I ended up at e r the doctors there would give me morphine and tell me to come back at any time my johnson /johnson too I was told it’s to late because it’s already atach to all of my other organs I think johnson/ johnson should have to pay because I can’t have surgery it’s still a recall I still have a lot of pain and will always now I see a doctor every month and I am on morphine all the time shouldn’t they have to pay for what they did me and a lot of other women

  24. […] DEFECTIVELY DESIGNED – It was the last trial of 2015, the Hammons trial in Philadelphia Court (here) of Common Pleas found Prolift was defectively designed and awarded Ms. Hammons $5.5 million in […]

  25. […] Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has been the venue for a string of unsuccessful product liability cases for Johnson & Johnson […]

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