A Philadelphia jury returned a $5.5 million verdict against a Johnson & Johnson unit on Dec. 21 after finding that the negligence of scientists regarding pelvic mesh implant Prolift was the root cause of an Indiana woman’s inability to have sex after having the product implanted. The jury found from the evidence that Ethicon Inc. was responsible for Patricia Hammons’ contracting the condition known as “dyspareunia.” This is the first of 180 cases in the mass tort program to go to trial. The jury also granted Hammons’ bid for punitive damages against the company, opening the door for additional arguments and evidence.
Ms. Hammons’ May 2013 suit alleged that shards of the Prolift mesh, which was implanted between her bladder and vagina in 2009 in an effort to correct sagging of her internal organs, became implanted in her bladder. She accused Ethicon scientists and officials of overlooking negative side effects associated with Prolift and hiding the risks from her implanting surgeon. Jurors heard Ms. Hammons’ lawyers argue that Prolift’s design was irredeemably flawed. They said the product incorporated far too much mesh with far too few holes, making it harder for healthy tissue to grow around it when implanted. Instead, the construction of the mesh prompted the growth of scar tissue, which contracts over time, pulling the mesh with it, and ultimately causes the vagina to shrink. On Dec. 22, the jury in the second phase awarded $7 million in punitive damages.
Ms. Hammons is represented by Shanin Specter, Lee Balefsky, Kila Baldwin and Michelle Tiger of Kline & Specter PC and Adam Slater of Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman LLC. These lawyers did an outstanding job for their clients in this very important case. The case is in the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia.
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