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Free & Goss Attorneys

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This week marked the start of the first of over 1,800 trials against New Jersey defendant and pelvic mesh manufacturer Gynecare (Johnson & Johnson).  The Plaintiff, 47-year-old Linda Gross of South Dakota, experienced devastating injuries following implantation of Gynecare’s device for treating pelvic organ prolapse, the Prolift.  This is the same device Gynecare sold without FDA clearance, and chose to remove from the market only a few months ago.

In a standing-room only courtroom, attendance, opening arguments began with plaintiff’s counsel delivering a forceful message of the catastrophic consequences associated with these devices.  Further, plaintiff’s counsel emphasized the plaintiff’s position that the manufacturer was aware of the nature and magnitude of the injuries associated with the product, yet failed to take remedial action or even warn of the dangers.

Conversely, the defense’s opening statement chose to focus on the individual aspects of the client, the client’s medical history, and the ‘epidemic’ that is pelvic organ prolapse.

While positions and strategy may change, these events allow some limited insight into how future trials may progress. Currently, it would appear the defense would rather focus on placing the blame on patients, rather than defending the merits of their own products, a curious choice.

Freese & Goss founder Tim Goss was in New Jersey to hear the opening arguments in the case. Mr. Goss is scheduled to try a similar type of case, against American Medical Systems in California in May 2013. But unlike the NJ case, the California case concerns a slightly different product: the AMS Monarc sling, which is used for stress urinary incontinence (SUI).