Yesterday, a Philadelphia jury ruled Johnson & Johnson (J&J) must pay an injured woman $5.5 million in compensatory damages for its negligence over the defectively designed Prolift pelvic mesh. Today, the jury also awarded her $7 million in punitive damages – a sum intended to punish Johnson & Johnson for having marketed an unsafe product.
This was the second product liability trial involving Prolift mesh, one of the most widely used pelvic meshes produced. The first Prolift trial of Linda Gross in 2013 resulted in a $11.1 million ruling for Ms. Gross but did not find the mesh was defective in its design. That verdict is still under appeal.
In the two-week Philadelphia trial of Patricia Hammons (64) of Indiana, the jury found for the plaintiff on all claims; defective design, a failure to warn doctors about its dangers, negligence in manufacturing, and in bringing Prolift to market.
Attorneys for Ms. Hammons were Shanin Specter of the law firm Kline & Specter and Adam Slater of the law firm Mazie Slater. Plaintiff attorney Adam Slater says he is not settling his clients, and intends to take their cases to verdict. ”J & J has displayed an attitude so far that they don’t care what the jury says, they don’t care what the judge says, they’re bigger than everyone else. They do things on J&J’s terms. That’s my impression of them.” said Slater.
Attorney Shanin Specter (Kline & Specter) said the Prolift pelvic mesh implant has too much mesh which causes scar tissue, mesh contraction and erosion. “The amount of mesh could stretch across two-and-a half football fields”, he told jurors. Ms. Hammons suffers mesh erosion into her bladder and excruciating pain during sex or dyspareunia. The mesh was found to have folded under her bladder and repeated surgeries have caused a shortened vagina.
The defense team blamed pain during sex on the plaintiff’s hysterectomy she underwent in 2009 and additional prolapsing of her small bowel and uterus. “Prolift had nothing to do with the fact she later developed the bowel prolapse”, said Specter.
Ethicon removed Prolift from the market three years ago after the U.S Food and Drug Administration required it to do three year post-approval monitoring for its effects on women. If you or a loved one has suffered due to transvaginal mesh related injuries, contact the legal team at Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm to confidentially discuss your legal rights and mesh removal options.