Consumers Have a Right to Safe Products
Like we say on our products liability page, consumers have a right to know the products they purchase will be safe and won’t cause injury or illness. This ideal is especially important for medical devices, which can have dire side effects if misused, or ill advised. Unfortunately, one of our clients happened to find herself in one of these situations involving a defective or bad product.
After a doctor implanted two pelvic mesh devices to treat an organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, Ms. Thacker suffered many complications and opened her first lawsuit against J&J and Ethicon Inc. (the manufacturers of the product) in 2012. Her case battled on for roughly a decade in a sprawling multidistrict litigation that involved women with similar claims, and was sent back to the Eastern District of Kentucky in 2020.
Our team argued that she likely would not have had two pelvic mesh devices implanted if the manufacturers provided proper instructions for use. With an adequate warning, her physician may not have recommended the device and would have given Ms. Thacker more information about the severity and likelihood of the risks. With enough information, she may not have consented to, or elected to go through with the treatment.
Court of Appeals Reverses District Court Dismissal Ruling
It wasn’t until recently that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling to reverse the district court’s order to dismiss the case. The panel stated, “Considering additional evidence, Thacker has provided enough for a jury to hear her case. This includes statements from an expert who said her treating physician would not have recommended implanting the devices if he had all the relevant information at the time.”
Our very own Sean Jez and Sylvia Davidow (who represents Ms. Thacker), said in a statement Monday that the appellate court “made an outstanding ruling that will allow Ms. Thacker to continue to seek the compensation she justly deserves for the injuries she continues to suffer as a result of Ethicon’s defective mesh products.” Sean later added that the decision expanded and clarified the evidence plaintiffs can use in failure to warn and design defect cases brought under Kentucky law.