Pennsylvania Record

Sunday, March 29, 2020

American Medical Systems removes pelvic mesh products liability claim to federal court

By Jon Campisi | Nov 13, 2013

Barbara r. binis

Defense attorneys representing American Medical Systems in a products

liability case initiated by a West Coast woman who claims she sustained injuries due to allegedly defective pelvic mesh have moved to transfer the civil action out of a Pennsylvania state court.

Lawyers Barbara R. Binis, Louis W. Schack and Alex G. Gross, of the Philadelphia firm Reed Smith, filed a removal notice at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking to transfer a lawsuit brought early last month by Oregon resident Gertrude Moore and her husband, Jack, to the federal venue.

The plaintiffs filed suit on Oct. 10 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court against Minnesota-based American Medical Systems Inc. over injuries Gertrude Moore claims to have sustained as a result of having had the In-Fast Ultra pelvic mesh device surgically implanted in her body to treat stress urinary incontinence.

As a result of the defective pelvic mesh, Gertrude Moore claims she has been injured “catastrophically,” and that she has experienced severe and permanent pain, suffering, disability, impairment, loss of life’s enjoyment, loss of care and comfort, as well as economic damages.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Philadelphia lawyers Lee B. Balefsky and Michelle L. Tiger, of the plaintiffs’ firm Kline & Specter, says that Moore will have to have future corrective surgeries to cure her alleged injuries.

The plaintiff and her husband claim that American Medical Systems marketed its pelvic mesh products to the medical community and to patients and consumers as safe, effective, and reliable, when, in fact, the products have high failure, injury and complication rates, often fail to perform as intended, require frequent and sometimes “debilitating re-operations,” and have caused “severe and irreversible injuries, conditions, and damage to a significant number of women, including Plaintiff Gertrude Moore.”

“Defendant AMS in particular has consistently underreported and withheld information about the propensity of their Pelvic Mesh to fail and to cause injury and complications, and have misrepresented the efficacy and safety of their Pelvic Mesh Products through various means and media, actively and intentionally misleading the medical community, patients, and the public at large,” the lawsuit reads.

The complaint also accuses the device manufacturer of failing to perform or rely on proper and adequate testing and research in order to determine and evaluate the risks and benefits of its surgical pelvic mesh products.

“Knowing the significant risk that the Pelvic Mesh Products would fail and/or imperil the health and welfare of the women in which they were implanted, Defendant failed to design the Pelvic Mesh Products for, and to establish a safe, effective procedure for, the removal of the Pelvic Mesh Products, rendering it impossible to safely or easily remove the Pelvic Mesh Products,” the complaint states.

Gertrude Moore claims as a result of her ordeal, she sustained mesh erosion, mesh exposure, mesh contraction, infection, inflammation, scar tissue, organ perforation, dyspareunia, blood loss, pelvic floor damage, pelvic pain, and recurrent urinary incontinence.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict liability, negligence, common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of warranty, gross negligence, violation of consumer protection laws, and loss of consortium.

The defense attorneys representing American Medical Systems say the matter belongs in federal court, not the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, because there is diversity of citizenship among the parties, and the amount of damages sought is likely to exceed the jurisdictional limit in a Pennsylvania court.

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