A California state jury added $70 million in damages to the $9.8 million it awarded the plaintiff last week in a product liability lawsuit over Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Ethicon‘s PPH 03 hemorrhoid stapler, the plaintiff’s attorney’s said.
Plaintiff Florence Kuhlmann alleged that during hemorrhoidoplexy surgery in January 2012, the defective stapler misfired, sealing her anal canal and leading to 21 days of emergency hospitalization, infection and abdominal surgeries including a full laparotomy and colostomy, according to Alexander Law Group, her counsel in the case.
The jury in the Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, Calif., found that the force required to fire the PPH 03 stapler exceeded specifications, due to a manufacturing defect, according to the law firm.
A Johnson & Johnson spokesman told MassDevice.com via email that the company is disappointed in the verdict.
“This product has been successfully used over one million times, and remains a safe and efficacious option for surgeons. While we are sympathetic with the plaintiff, we will be pursuing our appellate options,” he wrote.
In August 2012, Ethicon pulled more than 500 lots of its Proximate surgical staplers over performance issues that may cause the devices to misfire. The recall of the Proximate PPH and HCS hemorrhoidal circular staplers and accessories was “due to difficulty firing the device which may result in incomplete firing stroke, that may result in an incomplete staple formation,” the company said at the time.