Mesh Medical Device News Desk, March 20, 2017~ Physiomesh is the latest focus of defective product litigation and the number of cases keeps growing. So much so that multidistrict litigation may consolidate cases, filed in state courts around the country, into one mass tort or MDL in Florida or Illinois.
It is the latest, greatest mass tort that has the attention of mesh plaintiffs’ lawyers. Physiomesh is the polypropylene hernia mesh that is composed of layers and made by Johnson & Johnson. It was taken off the market last year by the maker and since then, product liability lawsuits have been filed.
The latest Motion filed will transfer all cases to the Middle District of Florida or to the Southern District of Illinois. Read it here.
THE CENTER OF GRAVITY
Filed March 9, 2017 before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), plaintiffs’ lawyers want to know where the Physiomesh cases should be heard. An MDL (multidistrict litigation) consolidates cases for pretrial proceedings.
Women injured by transvaginal mesh generally complain after 40% of any settlement dollars is paid to MDL law firms, there is little left to take care of their many needs in the future. An MDL will generally force both sides into a settlement after a few bellwether trials, but that amount may be considerably less than a jury award in compensatory damages.
Transvaginal mesh cases (nearly 100,000 of them) were consolidated in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia before Judge Joseph Goodwin in January 2012. Read more about the mesh MDl here.
For some reason, the majority of the pending Physiomesh cases are filed in the southeast U.S.
The southeast is the “center of gravity” for these cases.
The motion suggests the Middle District of Florid as the proper forum for coordinated and consolidated pretrial proceedings. Plaintiffs’ attorney suggest Judge James D. Whittemore, Susan C. Bucklew Judge Paul G. Byron as all well-suited to preside.
The alternative selection could be the Southern District of Illinois before Judge David R. Herndon.
PHYSIOMESH HERNIA MESH – THE LATEST MASS TORT
Physiomesh Flexible Composite, is a synthetic hernia mesh designed, manufactured and sold by Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson. It is composed of five distinct layers, two layers of Monocryl (polyglecaprone-25) film covered by two underlying layers of PDS (polydioxanone) film which coats the polypropylene (PP) mesh.
This is a unique design to Physiomesh and has never been used before.
Ethicon promised doctors the multi-layer coating would prevent or at least minimize adhesion and inflammation while at the same time facilitating incorporation of the mesh into the abdomen.
In filing their lawsuits, the Plaintiffs say they will show the multi-layers instead prevent adequate incorporation of the mesh into the body and added to a number of serious complications. The polypropylene mesh was not strong enough to withstand forces of the abdomen and that can a result in a hernia through the mesh itself or a recurrent hernia and/or rupture.
Additionally, the mesh may deform.
Physiomesh was withdrawn from the market voluntarily by Johnson & Johnson in May 2016. The lawsuits hope to prove that J&J did so because of the severity and frequency of Physiomesh complications.
The plaintiffs civil action claims the mesh was defectively designed and/or manufactured and the defendants failed to provide appropriate warnings about the dangers of Physiomesh. The injuries suffered are serious and permanent and can lead to additional surgeries, medical expenses and unresolved medical complications. For spouses, they are seeking loss of consortium.
So far there have been 18 patients who have filed civil actions after they were implanted with Physiomesh and they are pending in 9 federal districts.
There are six in the Middle District of Florida, two in the Southern District of Illinois, two in the Northern District of Georgia, two in the District of Colorado, one action in the middle District of Georgia, one action in the District of South Carolina, one action in the Eastern District of Kentucky, one action in the District of Massachusetts, one action in the Northern District of Oklahoma and one in the District of New Jersey.
Since there were more than 330,000 Physiomesh devices sold worldwide and half of those were sold in the U.S., it is predicted there could be hundreds if not thousands of additional cases filed in the near future.
These actions should be consolidated is the argument by the plaintiffs attorneys including Henry Garrard (Blasingame), Douglas Kreis (Aylstock), Joesph Osborne and Don Migliori (Motley Rice) because they all involved similar product liability design defect and inadequate Warnings by the manufacturer.
“Having a single judge preside over the pretrial proceedings in these case would promote efficiency and economy by avoiding duplicative discovery from similarly situated claimants who have asserted common product liability claims, will prevent potentially inconsistent pretrial rulings regarding factual and legal issues common to all cases, and will help preserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary by eliminating redundance of effort.”
Here is the Southern District of Illinois, including the city of Springfield.
Here is the Middle District of Florida would include Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando and Tampa.
Video on Physiomesh- Hollis law