Hearing Set for MDL in Ethicon Physiomesh Hernia Repair Product Litigation

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hold a hearing on May 25, 2017 on a plaintiffs’ motion to create a new MDL No. 2782 for Physiomesh Flexible Composite hernia mesh litigation against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson.

The hearing will take place in the John H. Wood, Jr. United States Courthouse Courtroom in San Antonio, Texas.

More than 330,000 Physiomesh devices have been sold worldwide, and the plaintiffs believe about 50% of those products were sold in the United States. It is expected that hundreds of additional cases will be filed in the near future.

So far, 18 actions are pending in 9 federal district courts.

Unique 5-layer design

Physiomesh is a synthetic mesh hernia repair device is an implantable synthetic surgical mesh product sold for use in hernia repair implanted through laparoscopic herniorrhaphy.

Physiomesh has a unique design incorporating five distinct layers: two layers of polyglecaprone-25 (“Monocryl”) film covering two underlying layers of polydioxanone film (“PDS”), which in turn coat a polypropylene mesh. This design has never been used in any other hernia repair product sold anywhere in the world.

The multi-layer coating was promoted by the defendants to prevent or minimize adhesion and inflammation and to facilitate incorporation and fixation of the mesh into the abdomen. However, the plaintiffs intend to demonstrate that the multi-layer coating instead prevented adequate incorporation of the mesh and caused or contributed to a variety of serious complications.

Additional surgeries needed

In addition, the polypropylene mesh portion of the Physiomesh was insufficient to withstand normal abdominal forces, which often resulted in herniation through the mesh itself, recurrent hernia formation and/or rupture and deformation of the mesh itself. The defendants ultimately voluntarily withdrew the Physiomesh device from the market in May 2016, which the plaintiffs intend to establish was a direct consequence of the frequency and severity of the complications experienced with this product worldwide.

The lawsuits charge that the devices implanted in their bodies were defectively designed or manufactured, and that the defendants failed to provide appropriate warnings and instructions regarding the dangers posed by these devices. The plaintiffs suffered serious and often permanent physical injuries from the implantation of the Physiomesh, often requiring additional surgeries, additional medical expenses, and unresolved medical complications. Where applicable, these implant plaintiffs’ spouses have alleged claims for loss of consortium.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has previously created MDLs for similar implantable surgical mesh devices:

  • In re Protegen Sling and Vesica Systems Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 1387 (J.P.M.L. 2001)
  • In re Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Litigation, 493 F.Supp.2d 137, MDL No. 1842 (J.P.M.L. 2007)
  • In re Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Prods. Liab. Litig., 588 F. Supp. 2d 1374, MDL No. 2004 (J.P.M.L. 2008)
  • In re Avaulta Pelvic Support Sys. Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2187 (J.P.M.L. 2010)
  • In re American Medical Systems, Inc., et al., Pelvic Repair Systems Prods. Liab. Litig., 844 F.Supp.2d 1359, MDLs Nos. 2325, 2326, 2327 (J.P.M.L. 2012) (3 separate pelvic mesh MDLs)
  • In re Coloplast Corp. Pelvic Repair Support Sys. Prods. Liab. Litig., 883 F.Supp.2d 1348, MDL 2387 (J.P.M.L. 2012)
  • In re Cook Medical, Inc., Pelvic Repair Sys. Prods. Liab. Litig., 949 F.Supp.2d 1373, MDL 2440 (J.P.M.L. 2013)
  • In re Neomedic Pelvic Repair Sys. Prods. Liab. Litig., 999 F.Supp.2d, MDL 2511 (J.P.M.L. 2014)
  • In re Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL 2753 (J.P.M.L.2016).

Recommended judges

If the Panel transfers the cases to the Middle District of Florida, the plaintiffs recommended Judges Paul G. Byron, James D. Whittemore and Susan C. Bucklew. In the Southern District of Illinois, the plaintiffs recommended Judge David R. Herndon who is presiding over two MDLs, In re Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL 2100, and In re Pradaxa (Dabigatran Etexilate) PL, MDL 2385.

In the Praxada MDL, Judge Herndon helped to facilitate a global settlement of over 2,600 constituent cases in under 22 months. Judge Herndon managed this settlement quickly and efficiently. Similarly, in the Yaz MDL which involved nearly 12,000 cases, Judge Herndon facilitated a mass settlement initiative in under 27 months.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys include:

  • Henry G. Garrard, III, James B. Matthews and Josh B. Wages of  Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, in Athens, GA.
  • Douglas A. Kreis, Bryan F. Aylstock, and Daniel Thornburgh D. Thornburgh of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz in Pensacola, FL.
  • Donald A. Migliori of Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant, SC.
  • Jonathan D. Orent of Motley Rice LLC in Providence, RI.
  • Joseph A. Osborne of Osborne & Associates Law Firm in Boca Raton, FL.

Larry Bodine

Attorney Larry Bodine is Editor of Mass Tort Nexus, and the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers. He is the former Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com and the American Bar Association Journal. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

2 thoughts on “Hearing Set for MDL in Ethicon Physiomesh Hernia Repair Product Litigation

  1. My polypropylene mesh was installed across my abdominal wall in 2003. Due to pain, infection had to have it removes 2006

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