PA Supreme Court Upheld $12.5 Million Lawsuit For Injured Mesh Patient
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
When Patricia Hammons from Indiana won her transvaginal mesh lawsuit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Ethicon (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) tried to argue that the $12.5 million verdict should be tossed over questions of jurisdiction. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the verdict, claiming that the plaintiff’s injuries were undeniably linked to mesh that was manufactured in Pennsylvania under the close supervision of Ethicon, confirming the verdict and denying Ethicon’s repeated request to invalidate lawsuits from non-Pennsylvania residents.
Transvaginal mesh complications are not uncommon.
Transvaginal mesh complications like those the plaintiff experienced are unfortunately common; this same type of mesh which is used to treat hernias has been under investigation since shortly after its conception in the 1990s. Transvaginal mesh has traditionally been used to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP), Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), and Vaginal Vault Prolapse. Depending on the patient’s health condition, a surgeon using transvaginal mesh may place the mesh on the front, back, or top wall of the vagina, and may refer to this as a graft, patch, biomesh, or vaginal support system.
Hammons claimed that defective Prolift mesh implanted to treat SUI perforated her bladder, requiring multiple corrective surgeries.
Unfortunately, Hammon’s situation is not uncommon. Many women experience adverse side effects from defective mesh implants, including bladder perforation, erosion of the vaginal walls or internal organs, infections caused by bacterial growth on the mesh, and failures of the mesh resulting in a recurrence of the original problem the device was used to correct.
Many complications caused by defective transvaginal mesh require surgery to correct, and in cases like Hammons, require multiple surgeries. Not only is each surgery expensive, but the surgery and recovery period can be painful, traumatic, and result in the injured party forced to take time off work while their body heals. To compensate these damages and more, Hammons was awarded $12.5 million as a verdict for her successful lawsuit; however, Ethicon attempted to have this verdict overturned, arguing that the court which awarded it was outside of its jurisdiction in doing so.
This is not the first time Ethicon has attempted to use jurisdiction to avoid paying verdicts to non-Pennsylvania residents.
As it turns out, Ethicon has been attempting to exclude non-Pennsylvania residents from Philadelphia’s established mass tort program for some time. This mass tort program is designed to “deal efficiently with large numbers of complex but similar tort cases by coordinating and streamlining pleadings, discovery, pretrial motions, and trial,” according to one of the Supreme Court’s published opinions regarding the issue.
Ethicon claims that since the surgery was not conducted in the jurisdiction of the trial, the verdict should not stand. However, it is undeniable that the mesh kit linked to the injuries was manufactured within that jurisdiction, and protected by Pennsylvania’s general personal jurisdiction statute.
Like Hammons, transvaginal mesh complications may qualify you to seek recovery through a product liability lawsuit.
Defective mesh kits have been causing severe and lasting damage to patients since the beginning of their use, and it is important to seek help if you or a loved one have suffered like Hammons. Thanks to her successful trial and verdict, Hammons can pay her past, present, and future medical bills without issue, in addition to compensating other damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering for the pain and repeated surgeries she underwent. To learn more about successful mesh lawsuits, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a product liability attorney.