Ethicon Prolene Hernia Mesh Plaintiffs Try Again for Multicounty Litigation in New Jersey

Published on October 21, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

Plaintiffs who claim to have been harmed by Ethicon, Inc.’s Prolene hernia mesh products have asked the Administrative Office for the Courts of New Jersey  to centralize their cases in a multicounty litigation.

The application was submitted on September 6th, and indicates that 107 lawsuits involving Ethicon Prolene hernia mesh implants are currently pending in Middlesex County Superior Court. Hernia mesh lawyers are also reviewing a large number of similar cases that will likely be filed in the state’s courts sometime in the near future.

This is apparently the third time plaintiffs have sought to centralize Prolene hernia mesh lawsuits in New Jersey, following the denial of applications submitted in August 2018 and May 2019.

Ethicon Prolene Hernia Mesh Allegations

Ethicon Prolene hernia mesh is made from filaments of polypropylene, a type of plastic that is derived from petroleum manufacturing. The New Jersey plaintiffs claim that this material in biologically incompatible with human tissue, resulting in an intense foreign body inflammatory response that can produce a “cascade of injurious complications”.

These hernia mesh complications allegedly include, but are not limited to:

  • Contraction and shrinkage of mesh
  • Increased foreign body sensation
  • Excessive scar tissue formation,
  • Mesh erosion, migration, and/or deformation
  • Chronic debilitating pain
  • Need for repeated surgical intervention

“These cases share common Defendants (and likely the same corporate witnesses), design elements, materials, manufacturing and production methods, and underlying science. Additionally, the parties are geographically dispersed, (as these products were sold throughout the nation); a high degree of commonality of injury exists; and a likely value interdependence exists among different claims,” plaintiffs argued in their latest application. “Further, there is a high degree of remoteness between the court and the actual decision makers in the litigation in that even the simplest of decisions may be required to pass through layers of local, regional, national, general and house counsel. All these considerations warrant MCL designation.”

The new application asks that the growing docket be centralized before a single judge in Atlantic County Superior Court, where multicounty litigations involving Ethicon’s Physiomesh and Proceed hernia mesh implants are already underway.

Other Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Litigations

At least 2,167 federally filed lawsuits involving Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh devices are also undergoing coordinated pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. Ethicon withdrew those polypropylene hernia mesh implants from the worldwide market in March 2016, after data from two European registries indicated they were associated with higher rates of recurrence and revision surgery compared to competitors’ products.

Nearly 2,500 additional hernia mesh lawsuits involving polypropylene devices marketed by C.R. Bard, Inc.’s Davol, Inc. subsidiary have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio.

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