Alexander Law Group, LLP has once again proven its track record after winning a high-dollar case in 2015. The Litigators’ Verdict and Settlement Exchange at LexisNexis recently released a listing of the Top 10 Product Liability Cases in the U.S., which recognized the firm’s notable success that hit a billion-dollar company backed with high-caliber legal counsel, with a verdict close to $80 million. The case was tried by Richard Alexander and Nina Shapirshteyn.
Alexander Law Group, LLP represented Florence Kuhlmann, one of the victims who suffered injuries caused by a defective Ethicon PPH 03 hemorrhoid stapler. The defendants in the case were Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. and J&J Healthcare Systems, subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson.
Kuhlmann had hemorrhoid surgery in January 2012. Her surgeon, Dr. Rakhee Shah, used an Ethicon PPH 03 hemorrhoid stapler to seal her surgical wounds. As Dr. Shah was finishing the procedure, she encountered difficulty firing the stapler and could not take it out of the patient’s anus. She had to fire it again to remove the device. Unfortunately, the second shot completely sealed off Kuhlmann’s anus.
Instead of getting cured of her hemorrhoids, Kuhlmann’s condition got worse. Her generalized infection resulted in several days of hospitalization. Moreover, she had to undergo multiple surgical repairs of her damaged bowel and rectal area. After her surgeries, Kuhlmann had to wear a colostomy bag while awaiting full recovery.
Being directly responsible for the operation, Dr. Shah was one of the defendants in the lawsuit. However, the jury found her not liable for the damages as she was uninformed of the defect that caused the stapler to misfire.
Ethicon, on the other hand, irresponsibly allowed the continued use of the defective hemorrhoid stapler. The jury found that the device had a manufacturing defect that caused it to fire more forcefully than expected. Some surgeons had reported this malfunction before Ms. Kuhlmann’s surgery was performed. The company had been aware of the problem for years.
A California jury awarded Kuhlmann and her husband nearly $10 million for medical costs, horrific pain and suffering, loss of consortium, embarrassment, humiliation, and disfigurement, as well as $70 million in punitive damages.
Attorney Nina Shapirshteyn explained that the jury clearly understood that Ethicon deceived the public of the product’s defect. The punitive damages “will certainly get the attention of a billion-dollar company and are designed to ensure they will never again put profit above the public’s safety,” Shapirshteyn added.
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a defective product, contact the attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation. As can be seen from the case of Florence Kuhlmann, we aggressively pursue companies that cause harm with their products.