Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pennsylvania judge sends Michigan woman's pelvic mesh case out of state

Federal Court

By Karen Kidd | Jan 7, 2020


PHILADELPHIA – A Michigan woman's lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and other defendants over a 2011 pelvic mesh implant Gynecare TVT-Obturator (TVT-O), originally filed in Pennsylvania, now is in federal court in New Jersey.

In his seven-page memorandum issued Dec. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Robert F. Kelly, sitting on the bench in Pennsylvania's Eastern District where the lawsuit was filed last summer, ruled the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey is the appropriate venue.

Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and co-defendant Ethicon Inc. is based in Somerville, New Jersey.

"Despite plaintiff's clearly expressed choice, we find that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is not a proper venue for this action," Kelly said in his memorandum.

Rebecca Dandy of Roscommon, Michigan, filed her lawsuit last June. Dandy is seeking, among other things, compensatory and punitive damages and civil penalties, along with breach of warranty, and alleges violations of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Other named defendants in the case are New Jersey-based Ethicon divisions Gynecare and Telford-based Secant Group LLC. Secant manufactured pelvic mesh products in Perkasie.

Dandy has since voluntarily dismissed her claims against Secant.

Dandy's allegations stems from surgery she underwent in March 2011 in Traverse City, Michigan, in which she received a surgical repair mesh implant.

"Plaintiff received the pelvic mesh product to treat her pelvic floor prolapse and/or urinary incontinence, but has since suffered permanent injury and requires corrective surgery as a result," the memorandum said.

Roscommon is within jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for Michigan's Eastern District while Traverse City is within the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for that state's Western District, according to a footnote in Kelly's memorandum.

Defendants in the case filed their motion to dismiss a month after Dandy filed her case, citing lack of personal jurisdiction or, in the alternative to transfer venue, either to the Eastern or Western districts in Michigan or to the New Jersey district.

"Since the venue issue is clear and dispositive, we will decide the issue of venue before that of personal jurisdiction," Kelly wrote in his memorandum. "Thus, we need not decide defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. However, in passing, we note that defendants will not have any personal jurisdiction issues in the District of New Jersey."

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U.S. District Court for the District of New JerseyU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of MichiganU.S. District Court for the Western District of MichiganUS DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

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