Jury verdict and judgment against Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Endo-Surgery subsidiary
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Jury verdict and judgment against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endo-Surgery subsidiary

Jury verdict and judgment against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endo-Surgery subsidiary for 59 year-old Florence Kuhlmann, a retired San Jose police officer and her husband John Perkins, as a result of a catastrophic surgical misfire by a defective hemorrhoid staple gun.

As a result of the misfiring, the staple gun was jammed in the rectum during a routine hemorrhoid surgery on January 27, 2012 and the anal canal was stapled shut, which required three surgeries at Valley Medical Center and left Ms. Kuhlmann with a colostomy bag. Afterward, surgeons at Stanford and University of California San Francisco were unable to reverse this severe injury that occluded the rectum.

As a result of painstaking efforts, the jury learned that Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary knew of hundreds of similar and identical malfunctions of the staple gun for which it routinely blamed doctors, even experienced and long-term users of its product. After months of increasing reports of adverse results, the stapler’s longstanding history mandated a recall, which was too late for Ms. Kuhlmann. Johnson & Johnson maintained there was no proof of defect because the surgery clinic disposed of the malfunctioning gun once the hemorrhoid surgery was completed.

After a 24 day trial the Alameda County the jury by a vote of 12-0 awarded Ms. Kuhlmann $8,523,566 representing her pain, suffering, embarrassment, disfigurement, and humiliation, past and expected future medical bills and awarded her husband $1.3 million for loss of consortium. Two days later, after two hours of deliberation the jury voted 9-3 to penalize the Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries with an additional $70 million in punitive damages for malicious disregard of human safety and health. Defense motions for a new trial were denied by the Hon. Ioana Petrou, Judge of the Superior Court for Alameda County on February 17, 2016.

Our trial team was led by Nina Shapirshteyn who tried this case with Richard Alexander and Annie Wu. Selected by the Daily Journal as the “largest and most significant defective product verdict in California of the year.” See “Shoddy Hemorrhoid Stapler Sticks J&J Unit With $80M Verdict” Law 360, December 16, 2015, “Retired San Jose officer awarded $80 million over botched surgery” San Francisco Chronicle December 16, 2015, “Top Plaintiffs’ Verdict $79.8 million” Los Angeles Daily Journal February 17, 2018. Nina Shapirshteyn received the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer of the Year Award on April 7, 2016.

While the results that we have obtained in other cases and our clients' testimonials do not guarantee, promise or predict the outcome of your case, we do promise to do our very best for you in your case.

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