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A New Jersey man has joined a growing number of individuals nationwide who are pursuing a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that problems with Ethicon Physiomesh caused extensive complications following a hernia repair surgery.
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the New Jersey Superior Court for Bergen County on May 11, Brian Kries alleges that Ethicon’s multi-layered Physiomesh creates an unreasonable risk of harm, including pain, dense adhesion formation, bowel complications, hernia recurrence, infection and other problems.
Kries indicates that an Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite patch was used during a hernia repair in February 2014. However, in December 2014, Kries had to undergo additional surgery to have the hernia mesh removed after it failed. The surgeon found extensive adhesions and a recurrent hernia at the right inferior lateral edge of the mesh, part of which had incarcerated into the hernia sac.
As a result of the complications, Kries indicates that he has been left with continuing pain, nausea, diarrhea, chills, inflammation, loss of appetite and extreme weight loss. In addition, the lawsuit indicates that he is now at a higher risk of abdominal surgery complications, indicating that future surgeries to correct problems caused by the Physiomesh may not be feasible.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, the manufacturer of the hernia patch mislead the medical community and patients about the safety of the multi-layered mesh, which been linked to a number of similar problems, resulting in an Ethicon Physiomesh recall in 2016, removing the hernia mesh from the market worldwide.
“Neither Plaintiff Brian Kries nor his implanting physician were adequately warned or informed by J&J or Ethicon of the defective and dangerous nature of Physiomesh,” the lawsuit states. “Moreover, neither Plaintiff Brian Kries nor his implanting physician were adequately warned or informed by J&J or Ethicon of the risks associated with the Physiomesh or the frequency, severity, or duration of such risks.”
The case joins hundreds of other hernia mesh lawsuits filed over Ethicon Physiomesh complications.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, the federal courts have centralized all Physiomesh cases before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. The process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
According to a case report (PDF) issued by the federal courts this week, there are currently 872 claims pending in the federal Physiomesh MDL. However, the number of claims is expected to continue to grow over the coming weeks and months.
Last month, a request was filed to establish similar centralized management for the Ethicon Physiomesh litigation being pursued in the New Jersey state court system, known as a Multicounty Litigation (MCL). The complaint filed by Kries would could be consolidated with dozens of others currently being pursued in New Jersey, where Johnson & Johnson’s U.S. headquarters are located.