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United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
March 28, 2022, Decided; March 28, 2022, Entered on Docket
CASE NO.: 20-60496-CIV-SINGHAL/Valle
OMNIBUS ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on two motions for summary judgment filed by Defendants: Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE ) and Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DE ); and Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (DE ). Both motions are fully briefed. Also before this Court, and fully briefed, is Defendants' Motion [*2] to Invoke Florida Statute Section 768.73(2) to Bar Plaintiffs' Claim for Punitive Damages and Incorporated Memorandum of Law ("Motion to Invoke") (DE ). Accordingly, the matters are ripe for review.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On July 2, 2013, this products liability case was direct filed into the Multidistrict Litigation MDL No. 2327 proceeding in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, In Re Ethicon, Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation (the "MDL Proceeding"). Plaintiffs Maria Benestad ("Ms. Benestad"), and her husband John T. Benestad (collectively "Plaintiffs"), filed a Short Form Complaint ("Complaint") (DE ) on July 2, 2013,1 against Defendants Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon, LLC, and Johnson & Johnson. On March 6, 2020, the case was remanded to this Court. See (DE ). On July 27, 2020, Defendant Ethicon, LLC was voluntarily dismissed from this action with prejudice. See (Order (DE ) July 27, 2020). This action remains pending as to Defendants Ethicon, Inc. ("Ethicon") and Johnson & Johnson ("J&J") (collectively "Defendants"). Id.
Plaintiffs claim Ms. Benestad suffered injuries from Gynecare TVT ("TVT"),2 a tension-free vaginal tape product for the treatment [*3] of medical conditions in the female pelvis, and Gynecare Prolift ("Prolift")3 (collectively, "the devices"), a pelvic mesh product for the treatment of medical conditions in the female pelvis. TVT and Prolift are products manufactured and sold by Ethicon for use in stress urinary incontinence ("SUI") surgery and pelvic organ prolapse ("POP").4 TVT is a mid-urethral mesh device used to surgically manage SUI. Prolift is a mesh device used to surgically manage POP, which is the abnormal descent or herniation of pelvic organs, such as the bladder, rectum, colon, and uterus, from their normal attachment sites in the pelvis.
Plaintiffs allege the TVT and Prolift devices were defectively designed, lacked adequate warnings and Defendants were negligent in their design, manufacture, market, and sale of both pelvic mesh products and that Defendants' failed to provide doctors—and therefore patients like Ms. Benestad—with adequate warnings about the products' risks. As a result of Defendants' conduct, Ms. Benestad claims she was implanted with defective pelvic mesh products that caused injuries including pain, dyspareunia, voiding dysfunction, and corrective removal surgery, which was performed [*4] on March 11, 2013, by Dr. Amir Shariati ("Dr. Shariati"). Upon removal, Dr. Shariati noted erosion, roping, and curling of the mesh—the very characteristics which make polypropylene mesh defective. Defendants deny Plaintiffs' allegations and assert the devices were properly designed and had sufficient warnings for pelvic surgeons, like Dr. Michael Zahalsky ("Dr. Zahalsky") and Dr. Mark Mokrzycki ("Dr. Mokrzycki"), using the devices. Further, Defendants maintain there was no defect in either device that caused Ms. Benestad any injury. Additionally, Defendants claim Ms. Benestad experienced all of the symptoms she attributes to the mesh devices prior to her implant surgeries. Defendants further deny that Plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55502 *; 2022 WL 5239882
MARIA BENESTAD and JOHN T. BENESTAD, Plaintiffs, v. JOHNSON & JOHNSON and ETHICON, INC., Defendants.
punitive damages, surgery, summary judgment, mesh, implant, Counts, pelvic, failure to warn, undisputed, discovery rule, gross negligence, warn, award of punitive damages, partial summary judgment, summary judgment motion, material fact, tolling, manufacturing defect, loss of consortium, Memorandum, patients, products, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, single course of conduct, fraudulent concealment, statute of limitations, constructive fraud, unjust enrichment, same act