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After experiencing complications following hernia repair procedures involving the Ethicon Physiomesh and Proceed patches, an Arizona man has filed a product liability lawsuit that alleges the manufacturer sold defective and unreasonably dangerous products for use during hernia repair.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Dale Koskinen late last month in the New Jersey Superior Court, naming Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary as defendants.
Koskinen indicates that he first underwent hernia repair surgery in January 2007, at which time his surgeons implanted Ethicon Proceed mesh. However, the hernia returned in September 2007, and again in December 2011, at which time he was implanted with an Ethicon Physiomesh product. Again, Koskinen suffered another recurring hernia in December 2012, indicating that the complications were caused by problems with the design of the multi-layered hernia mesh products.
Due to the hernia mesh failures, Koskinen indicates that he has suffered lysis of adhesions, small bowel resection, several recurrent hernia repairs, infections, and suffered liver damage from where the mesh adhered to the liver. He ultimately required a number of revision surgeries and has suffered organ damage, disfigurement, scarring, seroma, and other health problems.
The lawsuit also indicates that he is now at a higher risk of severe complications during abdominal surgeries, and that those risks may make future abdominal operations to address his ongoing health issues unfeasible.
“Ethicon Multi-Layered Hernia Mesh created an unreasonable risk of harm to Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states. “The unreasonable risk of pain, dense adhesion formation, bowel complications, mesh shrinkage, hernia recurrence, seroma and fistula formation, and infection, whether from a prolonged and pronounced inflammatory response caused by the multiple layers, degradation of polymers due to exposure to gamma irradiation, non-conforming subcomponents, or some other mechanism, renders Ethicon Multi-Layered Hernia Mesh a defective product.”
The case joins hundreds of other hernia mesh lawsuits filed over Ethicon Physiomesh and Proceed 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.
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.
In April, 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 Koskinen would could be consolidated with dozens of others currently being pursued in New Jersey, where Johnson & Johnson’s U.S. headquarters are located.