Pennsylvania may change Priest Abuse Law

(Sept. 3, 2018)  Due to a grand jury report released last month which detailed sex abuse by hundreds of priests, Pennsylvania may change its law on the statutes of limitations for filing Pennsylvania priest abuse lawsuits.

En Español:  Pensilvania podría cambiar la Ley del Abuso Sexual de parte de los Sacerdotes

State lawmakers will soon vote on whether to eliminate Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for clergy sex abuse lawsuits, and whether to lengthen the time a victim has to file such a lawsuit.  Several other states — like Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Minnesota — have already restored victims’ expired rights to file civil lawsuits.

Even if such new law were passed by the Pennsylvania legislature, whether or not an alleged victim could file a sex abuse lawsuit would depend on several factors.  The grand jury lamented the fact that many of the 1,000 priest-abuse victims it estimated could not seek justice due to the passing of the statutes of limitations.  And there were likely thousands more victims, said the jury.

Current Pennsylvania Law fails Victims

Current Pennsylvania law allows child victims of sexual crimes to pursue criminal charges against their abusers until the victims reach age 50.  Victims can file civil lawsuits only until they reach age 30.  That law fails many people who, through shame and other personal reasons, don’t readily reach a point where they are ready to sue their perpetrators.  Many of the victims of pedophile priest George Epoch, for example, didn’t sue the church until the man was dead, decades after he had abused them.

A bill before the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives would eliminate the time limit for prosecutions and move the lawsuit ceiling to age 50.  A Pennsylvania state lawmaker who survived abuse himself also wants to give a temporary grace period to victims whose time limit to sue has already passed.

Similar bills have sat unsupported in the legislature in recent years, but House Majority Leader Dave Reed said last week that he wants to schedule this one for a vote in fall 2018.  Mr. Reed said in a web site statement:  “The actions revealed through the grand jury report are heinous and shameful.  (With) the timeliness of this report and its findings, the statute of limitations bill (is) primed for discussion in the House.”

The bill (SB 261) has sat in the House since last year after the Senate passed it unanimously.

Grand jury says lift prosecution limits

The grand jury report said last month that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania showed that more than 300 “predator priests” were credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.

Pennsylvania may change Priest Abuse Lawsuit Law

The grand jury recommended the state eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecutions.  Members noted that “no piece of legislation can predict the point at which a victim of child sex abuse will find the strength to come forward.”

As it now stands, people for whom a statute of limitations has expired before any new law extends the window are generally out of luck.

A U.S. Supreme Court precedent constricts any extension of  criminal liability after a case’s statute limit expires, said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and CEO of think tank focused on ending child abuse and neglect Child USA.  That means that even if the Pennsylvania bill passed, a child victim age 51 or older when it became law would not be able to seek criminal charges.

Pennsylvania limits for prosecuting child sex abuse cases used to be five years for prosecution and two years for civil suits.  They increased in the 1990s, and again in the 2000s, eventually settling on 50 and 30.

The grand jury wrote that even those grace-period changes prevent many of the hundreds of victims detailed in the report from suing.

Lawmaker who survived abuse wants broader limits

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi has publicly shared his own personal account of being abused by a Catholic priest as an eighth-grader.

Mr. Rozzi wants to amend the Senate bill to provide a two-year window which would start whenever the new law would take effect.  In that time, any child sex abuse victim could sue an abuser, no matter how long ago the crime occurred.

The retroactive window for civil lawsuits “is the only avenue for these victims who are in the grand jury report” to get justice, said Mr. Rozzi to reporters.

In 2016, Mr. Rozzi gave the Pennsylvania House an emotional account of his rape by a priest in a rectory shower when he was 13 years old.  That story helped trigger the bill which the House unanimously passed, but which the Senate then defeated. The grand jury report says Graff died in a Texas jail in November 2002 while awaiting trial on suspicion of sexually abusing a boy.

Mr. Rozzi first told his story in 2009 after a second childhood friend of his killed himself. Both friends had also been abused by Graff, said Rozzi, a democrat.   He believes he has support in the House for his measure this year, but both chambers are controlled by Republicans.

Mr. Rossi vowed: “Expect that sometime in September, we will move a bill out of the House that has a retroactive window” for civil lawsuits.

Grand jury also recommends retroactive civil window

The grand jury also recommended a two-year civil lawsuit window to allow child victims whose statutes of limitations have expired to sue, the same measure which Mr. Rozzi proposes.

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Gay Lavender Mafia in the Catholic Church?

(August 29, 2018)  Is there a gay lavender mafia in the Catholic church?  According to a priest who has seen the culture from inside the church for several decades, the answer is an unequivocal “Yes.”  Sadly, the Church has even manipulated or blackmailed priests who have attempted to blow the whistle on the church’s homosexual / pedophile problems.  That’s the conclusion reluctantly reached by several honorable priests, including Father Edwin Palka.

Related: McCarrick tip of the Iceberg, Polish Priest  warns

Evil Homosexual Bishops  

Father Palka wrote earlier this month in the bulletin of The Epiphany of our Lord Catholic Church  that “evil” homosexual bishops set out to “punish, humiliate and blackmail” decent, God-fearing priests who threaten to blow the whistle on the gay “mafia” within the Roman Catholic church.  You can read Father Palka’s own words here,which he used in trying to answer one of his own parishioner’s queries over the church’s pedophile problem:  Why don’t Priests blow the Whistle?

Gay Lavender Mafia within Catholic Church

Father Palka blows the whistle on the horrendous damage done by what he calls the gay “Lavender Mafia” within the church.  Father Palka helps shed light on why the sexual abuse crisis within the U.S. church has raged unchecked for decades, as was shown in the recent grand jury report from Pennsylvania.

Pastor of the Tampa, Fla. parish, Father Palka wrote:  “Many people still don’t (I believe most priests still don’t) understand just how evil the active homosexual or homosexual activist… priests and bishops are.”

He continued:  “Not understanding the extent of their depravity and wrongly thinking that they are simply ‘normal’ men who just struggle with their sexual desires and sometimes might fail to remain chaste but are really, truly repentant when it happens and strive to ‘confess my sins, do penance and amend my life, amen’, they cannot possibly grasp the hellish depths to which… [homosexual activist]… clergy will go to persecute, lambaste, punish, humiliate and blackmail anyone who stands in their way or threatens their way of life.”

Father Palka’s speaking out to answer his own parishioner was partly a result of the shocking grand jury report on pedophile priests released from Pennsylvania this month.  The jury determined that a culture of corruption deep within the church hierarchy has pointedly protected pedophile priests for decades.

How else can one explain the church’s decades-long problem of allowing pedophile priests to abuse young children, 80% of whom have been boys?  How else can one explain the steady promotions which have elevated the worst of the worst – like Cardinal McCarrick – into the highest upper echelon positions in the Catholic church?  How else can one explain the cathedral  mural commissioned by an infamous archbishop in 2007 that suggests a homosexual orgy which includes naked children?

The Catholic church has, for too many years, been able to flaunt its homosexual pedophile priests right in the faces of its parishioners.  So brazen have the upper reaches of the church hierarchy been that they now feel emboldened to simply paint perverted pictures right on the walls of a cathedral, right in front of God and everybody.

Perhaps nothing so clearly shows church elders’ disdain for their own parishioners and all things holy as Archbishop Paglia’s homoerotic mural.  We dare anyone to examine this “Art” Paglia commissioned in 2007, and not come to the same conclusions of world-renowned art critic Maureen Mullarkey.  The truth hides in plain sight in Archbishop Paglia’s world.

Related: Archbishop defends x-rated mural as evangelizing tool

Archbishop Paglia’s Malicious Mural

An International Association of Art Critics member, Ms. Mullarkey wrote in March 2018 that Paglia’s mural was a “true scandal” for the Church.  She called the mural an “out-and-proud” display that reveals not only a “creep,” but a much deeper problem within the Vatican under Francis’ leadership.

“Paglia’s narcissism — the urge to flaunt his liberation from the moral considerations he is pledged to honor — is stunning,” Ms. Mullarkey wrote.  “It is a finger in the eye of congregants who trust in a priest’s fidelity to his vows.  To place it in a public house of worship is treachery.  It is also a declaration of Paglia’s own trust in his immunity from reprimand.”

Ms. Mullarkey wrote that the painting forces congregants to “peep through a keyhole at [Paglia’s] sexual inclinations — and suggested behavior.” (Paglia) disdains his own flock,”she wrote.  “He is taunting them. There is malice in that.”

She added: “The true scandal here is the basis — which goes unmentioned — of Paglia’s confidence that he could broadcast his sexuality on a cathedral wall without fear of censure.”

It is the kind of thing which a good attorney might like to enter into evidence in a priest abuse lawsuit against the church over its harboring, protecting, and even promoting pedophile priests.

It’s instructive to consider Paglia’s punishment for flaunting his deviant art, which was paid for in part by the very parishioners who were subjected to it.  In 2012, he was promoted to archbishop and appointed president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Under the direction of Paglia, in 2016 the Pontifical Council for the Family issued a new sex-ed program that includes lascivious and pornographic images so disturbing that one psychologist suggested Paglia be evaluated by a review board in accordance with norms of the Dallas Charter, which are designed to protect children from sexual abuse.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a consultant to the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican, said his immediate professional reaction was that, “[T]his obscene or pornographic approach abuses youth psychologically and spiritually.  (As) a professional who has treated both priest perpetrators and the victims of the abuse crisis in the Church, what I found particularly troubling was that the pornographic images in this program are similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.”

That’s more evidence hiding in plain sight of church elders’ attitudes toward pedophilia, and of a systemic problem in the church itself, at the highest levels, that both encourages and rewards unspeakable depravity.

LBGT Politics obscure Criminal Behavior

Meanwhile, some of the LBGT community, which has a very strong political presence in the church, has become inflamed as the pedophile priest stories have been used by some to help promote the King James’ Bible stories that homosexuality is a sin.   But this isn’t about the sin of homosexuality, which we can argue about all we want but cannot legislate.  We cannot legislate human behavioral choices between consenting adults.  We can, and have, legislated behavior between adults and children.  This issue concerns a crime.   Pedophilia is a crime, against both Man and God, and offending priests who violate the trust of their parishioners must be held accountable.

The Church needs to be held accountable

Since church elders have shown themselves to be abject failures in ferreting out and dismissing beastly priests who abuse young children, law firms must be employed to hold these priests and the church accountable.  The church needs to be held accountable.  If you have been abused by a priest, click here for a free confidential legal consultation regarding a potential lawsuit.

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The Catholic Church’s Child Sex Abuse Problem

(August 24, 2018)  A grand jury report issued in Pennsylvania last week has brought the Catholic church’s long-running pedophilia problem back into the public eye. It is a problem that has sadly festered for decades, likely for centuries.  After a two-year investigation in Pennsylvania, the grand jury found that some 300 priests had molested at least 1,000 children, and likely thousands more, dating back to the 1940s.  That’s when the church first began keeping records on pedophile priests.

10,000 Children Report Priest Abuse

The Pennsylvania grand jury report issued this month comes 14 years after the Catholic church itself commissioned what became its own shocking news release back in 2004.   The church then found that more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations since the 1950s.  Those sex abuse cases involved more than 10,000 children, most of them young boys.

Related:  Pennsylvania Priest Abuse Lawsuit

What is the church doing to address its Pedophile Priest Problem?

Many victims of priest abuse and priest-abuse-victims’ advocates have, for decades, criticized the church’s criminal lack of leadership in addressing the problem.  In too many actual cases, church leaders, including the pope, have either ignored the problem, or else they have enabled abuser priests to continue unchecked in their positions of power.

Priest Abuse Lawsuits

Evidence discovered in priest abuse lawsuits has found that many pedophile priests have been moved from one parish to another, often without any rehabilitation or proper supervision, legal or otherwise.  In many of those cases, church elders pointedly failed to inform the offending priest’s newly-assigned parishioners that they’d been given an accused pedophile priest.  In many of those cases, the priest was found to abuse children at his new parish just as he had in the last which had driven him out.

The Pennsylvania pedophile priest report also noted that when local law enforcement was called in to report a sex abuser priest – because pedophilia is a crime – the local police often gave the priest a free pass in “deference” to the church.

The Pope – Words sans Action

The current Pope, Francis, has done what virtually all of his predecessors have done, talk tough about taking responsibility for sex abuse and ferreting out offending priests; but his actions, or lack thereof, and his reactions before and after the Pennsylvania report overshadow his words.

Pope Francis had even gone so far as to denounce accusers who had been deemed entirely credible in telling their sad tales of abuse at the hands of a priest.  In Chile, the pope’s criticism of a credible victim’s veracity recently led to his apologizing to priest sex-abuse victims not only for their abuse at the hands of a priest, but for the pope’s own heaping of scorn upon their personal accounts of that horrific abuse.   In many cases, so many abused people came forward with similar stories about the same priests that it was simply impossible for the pope, or anybody else, to discount their credibility.

NPR: Pope apologizes for mis-handling Chile Sex-abuse Sscandal

Mainstream slow to Reveal Truth

The mainstream media first began to acknowledge child molestation by priests in the 1980s, in the US and Canada, at least 30 years after the first victims’ stories began coming out in the 1950s.

By the 1990s, stories came out in Argentina, Australia, and elsewhere.  In 1995, the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, stepped down after sexual abuse allegations rocked the Church there. Widespread priest abuse stories also began hitting the newsstands in Ireland at that time. By the early 2000s, the beasty priest genie was out of the bottle all over the world.

The Boston Globe newspaper (as seen in the 2015 film: Spotlight) exposed widespread abuse.  The Globe detailed how pedophile priests were shuffled around by Church leaders instead of being punished.  The story inspired priest-abused people across the US and the world to tell their  stories.

Endemic Church Sex Abuse

In 2009, a report found that sexual and psychological abuse was “endemic” in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages in Ireland for most of the 20th Century.

In 2017, a five-year Australian inquiry found “tens of thousands of children” were sexually abused in Australian institutions over decades, including churches, schools, and sports clubs.

In 2018, a former Vatican representative received a five-year prison sentence for child pornography crimes.  In addition, Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson resigned in 2018 after being convicted of concealing the child sex abuse crimes of another priest. In Chile this year, 34 Roman Catholic bishops offered to resign in the wake of a child sex scandal and cover-up.

The Catholic Church’s Child Sex Abuse Problem

NPR reports that under Pope Francis, a special panel has been set up to deal with the priest abuse issue, but it has faced setbacks, including high-level resignations.  In 2017, an Irish survivor of  priest abuse, Marie Collins, left the group, citing “stumbling blocks and hindrances”.

Sadly, that sounds like business as usual for the Catholic church and how it tackles (or fails to tackle) its long-running pedophile priest problem.

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Monsanto Faces 8,000 Roundup Suits

(August 24, 2018)  Monsanto faces more than 8,000 lawsuits over Roundup links to cancer, the head of Bayer announced yesterday.  Part of the IG Farben company convicted of helping Nazis commit war crimes, Bayer acquired Monsanto this summer in a $62 billion-dollar deal.  That marriage merges two companies which have made their fortunes largely by making and selling deadly chemicals.

Roundup Cancer Verdict: $289 Million

Roundup cancer litigation exploded in the public eye this month after Monsanto was hit with a $289 million jury verdict in California state court following a month-long trial.  Plaintiff DeWayne Johnson sprayed Roundup and Ranger Pro on California school properties. He is now dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which his lawsuit said was caused by his exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro.

World Health Organization: Roundup a Probable Carcinogen

Roundup lawsuits were spurred largely by a 2015 pronouncement from the World Health Organization that glyphosate – the only active ingredient named in Roundup, Ranger Pro, and other popular Monsanto poisons – was a probable human carcinogen.  Since that time, Monsanto has been shown in court documents  to have waged a worldwide PR campaign to discredit the WHO and any scientists or anyone else who dares suggest that glyphosate is carcinogenic.

Monsanto claims Hundreds of Studies show Roundup Safe

Monsanto claims incessantly that hundreds of studies have proven Roundup safe.  The problem is that virtually all of those “studies” were done by people on Monsanto’s payroll or by others financially beholden to the chemical giant from Missouri.  By contrast, the WHO refused to consider Monsanto’s own vested interest studies; the WHO considered only studies which were independent of Monsanto or its minions.

Monsanto EPA Collusion impugns EPA

Monsanto also endlessly repeats that the U.S. EPA has found glyphosate to be non-carcinogenic. The problem for Monsanto with that argument is that internal documents have shown some EPA officials either helping Monsanto or colluding with the company to delay or derail legitimate Roundup cancer studies.  The judge in the California trial allowed the jury to see some of that evidence which impugns Monsanto’s attempt to hide behind any EPA pronouncements.

Can Bayer erase the Monsanto Name from History?

Given the Monsanto moniker’s PR problem which Roundup lawsuits have brought to the forefront of the waking public’s mind, Bayer also hopes the acquisition will help erase the Monsanto name from the history books. Since most of Bayer’s crimes against humanity are further in the past than Monsanto’s, that ploy may work, eventually, given the enormously short attention span of most people today.

Bayer knows something about helping erase history; it knows something about helping erase people from history.  Bayer helped IG Farben erase the lives of millions of people enslaved in WWII concentration camps.  Bayer’s real history is no “conspiracy theory,” and neither is Monsanto’s.

Related:  10 Dirty Secrets you probably didn’t know about Bayer

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann

Meanwhile, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann told investors in a conference call that the 8,000 cases filed against Monsanto over glyphosate “is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases.”

Werner Baumann said Bayer/ Monsanto will vigorously defend against the lawsuits.  He also said the company plans to ask the judge who oversaw the trial of DeWayne “Lee” Johnson to overturn the verdict. If that doesn’t work, the company will appeal the verdict to appellate courts.

Mr. Baumann also repeated Monsanto’s endless argument that glyphosate safety is backed by hundreds of studies over decades.

The California state jury also found in the first and thus far only Roundup cancer trial that  Monsanto failed to adequately warn customers of risks associated with Roundup and its even stronger Ranger Pro products.   The jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice or oppression, and awarded punitive damages.

Monsanto Faces 8,000 Roundup Suits

CEO Baumann also said that another lawsuit alleging Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate causes cancer is set for trial in St. Louis this October.

Federal Court Cases
While most of the 8,000 cases against Monsanto for Roundup are pending in state courts, some 400 glyphosate cases are pending in a federal multidistrict litigation court set up in California.

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Mosanto hit by $289 Million Verdict in First Roundup Trial

(August 10, 2018)  Monsanto was hit by a $289 million verdict in the first Roundup trial yesterday.  A jury deliberated for nearly three days before awarding a former California groundskeeper the decision in the landmark trial.

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson sued Monsanto in 2016.  He claimed Monsanto knew of health risks linked with Roundup and its even stronger Ranger Pro products since the 1990s.  That’s when studies began showing a correlation between Monsanto’s flagship product and lymphoma. Monsanto, however, downplayed the risks,  the lawsuit petition charges.  Monsanto also failed to put a warning label on its cancer-causing products.  Monsanto failed to warn Mr. Johnson, ruled the jury.  He thought it safe to use Roundup and Ranger Pro while he worked as a groundskeeper for a San Francisco Bay Area school district.

Mr. Johnson took the stand toward the end of the month-long trial.  He recalled being told during an optional pesticide training program that Ranger Pro was “safe enough to drink.”  Shortly afterwards, he said that a spray machine malfunction drenched him in the poison, despite his taking extra safety precautions in wearing a Tyvek bodysuit over his uniform.

After he was drenched, he noticed a nodule on the back of his leg, behind his knee. Other nodules quickly spread to his arms, legs, chest, face, hands.  Mr. Johnson was eventually diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  But he continued spraying Monsanto’s poisons anyway.  He didn’t know if the Ranger Pro had caused his cancer, and he didn’t want to lose his job.  An additional accident covered his back in the poison.

Mosanto hit by $289 Million Verdict in First Roundup Trial

Three different plaintiff’s experts testified earlier that Monsanto’s Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or that Monsanto misrepresented the safety of the products used by Mr. Johnson.

Toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer testified to the 16-member jury that 10 percent of Roundup’s only named active ingredient – glyphosate — can be absorbed through human skin, more than 10 times the amount Monsanto claims can be absorbed when one is using Roundup or Ranger Pro.  Monsanto claims users absorb less than 1 percent.

Another plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Chadi Nabhan — an oncologist and former medical director of the University of Chicago’s cancer center — testified that Monsanto’s products caused Mr. Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Dr. Chadi Nabhan told the jury that he had reviewed epidemiological studies and found that glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  After reading thousands of pages of Mr. Johnson’s medical records and examining him, Dr. Nabhan said glyphosate was likely to blame for his cancer.  Dr.Nabhan discussed risk factors associated with cancer, including age, race, the patient’s immune system, viruses, and work history. He said the only risk factors that raised a red flag were Mr. Johnson’s race — because his subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, is more prevalent in black patients  — and his glyphosate exposure on the job.

“There was exposure to an agent that has been determined [to be] a human carcinogen,” Dr. Nabhan testified.  “So nobody could logically exclude this as a substantial factor.”

Experts for Monsanto testified that hundreds of studies showed glyphosate was safe.  Plaintiffs countered that all of those studies were done by Monsanto employees, or else they were paid for by Monsanto, or they were studies that were of too short a duration to be definitive, or else their sample sizes were too small.

Monsanto experts also attacked the WHO, as Monsanto secretly did in the press and blogosphere across the world, for pronouncing glyphosate a probable carcinogen.  Monsanto’s lawyers and experts pointed out that the EPA and the European equivalent of the U.S. EPA had found glyphosate safe.

But in a glimpse behind the regulatory curtain, the jury also heard testimony concerning how a former EPA official, Jess Rowland, worked secretly at the behest of Monsanto to help kill a study over the safety of glyphosate.  Mr. Johnson’s lawyers also pointed out that the WHO looked only at independent studies not paid for by Monsanto in arriving at their conclusion that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen.

Monsanto vowed to appeal the verdict.

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Judge Sanctions Ford in Rollover Case

(August 4, 2018)  A state court judge sanctioned the Ford Motor Company in a rollover case in Georgia last month.  The Gwinnett County State Court judge in tiny Lawrenceville (Pop. 30,782) forbid the auto giant from challenging its fault in a wrongful death rollover lawsuit.  The judge levied several sanctions against Ford for conduct which he said forced a mistrial in an F-250 pickup rollover case in his court.

Related:  Ford loses Trademark Case against Texas Printer

The case involves two people who were killed when a 2002 Ford Super Duty F-250 Crew Cab pickup rolled over after a tire blowout.

Ford Caused Mistrial

“Ford intentionally, and after several warnings and admonitions, elicited testimony that forced this Court to declare a mistrial,” declared Judge Shawn Bratton.  He then sanctioned Ford for trial conduct over the 2014 truck crash deaths of Melvin and Voncile Hill.

The judge said, “Plainly, Ford willfully caused a mistrial in this case, in bad faith, and issue preclusion sanctions are appropriate.”

Judge Bratton’s order came in response to plaintiffs’ request for sanctions.  It bars Ford from challenging its liability as to design defect and failure to warn claims. Further, it sets up a trial focused on damages, which includes potential punitive damages against Ford.

The sanctions came three months after Judge Bratton declared a mistrial in proceedings over the rollover which killed the Hills as they drove along SR 49 in Americus, Georgia. During the April 2018 trial, the Hills’ family survivors claimed there was a dangerously weak roof in the couple’s 2002 Ford Super Duty F-250 Crew Cab pickup.

As he issued the sanctions, Judge Bratton said a Ford attorney, Huie’s Alan Thomas, willfully violated repeated court directives when he asked defense expert Dr. Thomas McNish to give his opinion on Melvin Hill’s cause of death.

Judge Bratton wrote: “The Court instructed Ford’s counsel, Alan Thomas, to explain to McNish, before his testimony began, that he would not be allowed to give specific cause of death opinions.  In clear disregard of the Court’s ruling, Mr. Thomas asked Dr. McNish whether he agreed with Plaintiffs’ expert’s opinion as to the cause of Mr. Hill’s death. Dr. McNish then opined, before the jury, the very testimony that the court prohibited — i.e. his opinion as to the cause of Mr. Hill’s death.”

Judge Bratton also noted in his sanctions ruling that Ford’s legal team violated earlier orders barring them from questioning the Hills’ seatbelt use or arguing any fault on the Hills’ part.

The judge said that Ford “deliberately injected the seatbelt use, as relevant, at least twice, before the jury,” and referred to a post-mortem toxicology report on Melvin Hill, “intimating that the results showed that Mr. Hill had alcohol in his blood.”

No Alcohol in Decedent’s Blood

Judge Bratton added:  “This example of Ford’s willful disregard of the Court’s orders in limine was particularly troubling, because the toxicology report showed that alcohol was not present in Mr. Hill’s blood.”

The judge also ordered Ford to pay more than $10,000 in jury-related costs, and he required Mr. Thomas to show why he should not be held in contempt of court. The order did, however, reserve ruling on plaintiffs’ motion for attorney fees.

170 Ford F-250 Rollover Cases

One of the Hills’ attorney in the case said that he has never seen anything like Ford’s courtroom misconduct in his 41 years of trying some 200 cases.

Shortly after the mistrial, Ford unsuccessfully requested that Judge Bratton recuse himself from the case, while the Hills’ plaintiffs sought sanctions.

The Hills attorney said in an email to Courtroom View Network:  “There was no doubt that the rollover was ‘foreseeable.’ Ford admitted that, and also admitted it had been sued some 170 times when this same truck rolled over causing roof crush and deaths or injuries.  (There) was no doubt that the roof on these trucks is defective and dangerous.  Ford’s own conduct admits that.  Ford had a team of Ford engineers design a far stronger roof for this same truck back in 2004, because Ford knew this roof was too weak.”

Judge Sanctions Ford in Rollover Case

Ford promised to challenge the decision. “Unfortunately, this is the latest in a string of orders that defy the evidence and the record in this case,” Ford’s statement read. “Ford will pursue appellate review.”

The case is Hill v. Ford, 16-C-04179-S2.

Ford has faced several lawsuits over weak roofs in its F-250 and F-150 pickup trucks. The lawsuits typically charge that the weight of the frame and body in the Ford pickups is too much for the roof to bear in a rollover crash.  Roof crush results, and many people have been killed or maimed in such accidents.

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Cell Phone Cancer Link? Maybe.

Is there a Cell Phone Radiation Lawsuitcell phone cancer link?  The answer is, “Maybe.”  That’s the latest conclusion from a study on rats unfortunate enough to be recruited for it.  Most of the rest of us have also been recruited for quite some time, though many of us might not yet know it.

Related:  NBC News raises question to discount it

Brain tumors are typically slow growing.  They can take 20-30 years to develop, which is roughly the time most of us have been living with cell phones stuck to our heads.  Maybe we’re made of wood and no amount of radiation from the phones can hurt us.  Or maybe we should note that we are not made of wood, that radiation is real, and that we don’t know as much about it as we think we do, or as much as the people who call themselves scientists think they do.

Malignant Schwannomas

In Spring 2018, the National Toxicology Program (part of NIH) drafted a report on two long-running studies regarding cell phone radiation’s health effects. The researchers found exposure to high levels of radiofrequency radiation linked with a slight increase in the incidence of malignant schwannomas.  That is a rare type of tumor in nerve tissues near the hearts of male rats.

Researchers also found a radiation link with damage to heart tissue in both girl and boy rats. Mice had no similar effects.  Both mammal species’ entire bodies were exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation nine hours per day for up to two years. (Keep in mind, that is a comparatively tiny amount of time exposed considering the radiation most of us have been exposed to daily for decades now.  But you do the math, extrapolate, compare, and see what you think. Don’t forget to factor in so-called Smart meters and “Smart” appliances, cell phone towers, Wifi — some or all of which radiate most of us almost constantly — and  the rest of the radiation soup we’ve lived in for years.)

In May 2018, a panel of peer reviewers met for three days to discuss the rat and mice studies and determine conclusions.  The reviewers voted to increase the level of confidence in their findings.  They concluded there was a clear link between the radio frequency radiation exposure and the male rat heart tissue tumors. The National Toxicology Program must now decide whether to accept the panel’s recommendation before the final report is released.   (Cue the telecom industry lobbyists to discount any “negative” health conclusions of this study, or see NBC News above do it for them.)

The studies, the “experts” say, are far from conclusive. The studies have yet to be peer-reviewed,  but some of the findings are scary enough to warrant public discussion (if only the public could be made to discuss its failing health, beyond being forced to buy “health” insurance).

Two previous papers on the studies noted that “studies published to date have not demonstrated consistently increased incidences of tumors at any site associated with exposure to cell phone RFR [radio frequency radiation] in rats or mice.”  But the researchers felt that “based on the designs of the existing studies, it is difficult to definitively conclude that these negative results clearly indicate that cell phone RFR is not carcinogenic.”

So because no clear conclusion can be drawn that proves cell phones cause cancer, we are told not to worry.  Clearly, we will need many dead of brain tumors in the exact same area of the head before we will see “the experts” venture to draw any conclusion regarding the safety of cell phones.

This study does, nonetheless, raise the instinctual fears many of us have that holding radiation-emitting devices to our heads that heat them and alter our natural frequencies may not be healthy.

Devil in the Details

The studies exposed mice and rats to both 900 MHz and 1900 Mhz wavelength radio waves (each frequency being its own experiment) for about 9 hours per day.  The mad scientists torturing the rodents varied the strengths from 1 to 10 watts per kilogram. For comparison, the general limit the FCC imposes for exposure is 0.08 W/kg.  The absolute maximum allowed, for the extremities of people with occupational exposures, is 20 W/kg for no longer than 6 minutes. So the poor mice were being pretty severely blasted, perhaps to get at the truth of radiation; or perhaps to later say that people are not so severely blasted, so nobody can use this experiment as any sort of relevant comparison to human exposure. (We report, you decide).

In addition, it is worth noting that a recent investigation of cell phones has found that most are emitting dangerously high levels of radiation far beyond what their makers say they emit and far beyond the FCC limits for radiation exposure. (See that Natural News story here.)

NTP senior scientist John Bucher explained away the findings in just that fashion in a news release that accompanied the papers.  “The levels and duration of exposure to RFR were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and exposed the rodents’ whole bodies,” said Mr. Bucher.  “So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage.”

Mouse Tumors Match People Tumors

But in the next breath, Mr. Bucher also showed some comparison could be made with humans. “We note, however,” said he, “that the tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users.”

As with most of these studies which try to use rat results to duplicate the experiences of human beings, no definite conclusions can be drawn, and the researchers recommend further testing. That testing is ongoing, of course, in the millions of humans living with radiation-producing cell phones closely tethered to their bodies and brains.

Cell Cancer Lawsuit

Our law firm is investigating possible links between cell phone radiation and brain cancer.  Call us for a free legal consultation if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with brain cancer following heavy cell phone use.

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J&J ordered to pay $4.7 Billion for Talc Powder Cancer

(July 12, 2018)  J&J Talcum Powder Lawsuitwas ordered to pay 22 women nearly $4.7 billion for   cancer they developed after using J&J talcum powder.  The women had all used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and/or J&J’s Shower-to-Shower.  A St. Louis jury agreed with the women’s attorneys that J&J’s talcum powder contained asbestos that gave them cancer.  Six of the 22 women had died of ovarian cancer before the six-week trial.  The jury award included $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion more in punitive damages.

The 12 St. Louis Circuit Court jurors deliberated for less than a day.  They unanimously held both J&J and J&J Consumer liable for strict liability and negligence for all of the plaintiffs’ injuries.  They awarded each woman suing alone $25 million, and generally awarded each woman whose lawsuit included her husband $12.5 million each.

The jury also found both J&J companies liable for punitive damages for each of the plaintiffs.  The jury deliberated for the punitive damages phase less than two hours.  They then awarded the heavy punitives – $3.15 billion for J&J, $990 million for J&J Consumer.  In addition to the unanimous vote for damages, the jury voted 11-1 for the J&J punitive damages verdict, and unanimously for the J&J Consumer verdict.

The women’s attorney, Mark Lanier, told the jury Jonson & Johnson covered up evidence of asbestos in their products for more than 40 years.  “We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board,” he said, “(and) lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer.”

During the punitive damages phase arguments the jury heard after delivering their first verdict, Mr. Lanier told the jury that J&J “deliberately exposed millions of Americans” to a dangerous substance and asked them to impose a verdict the company would notice.

During regular closing arguments, Mr. Lanier told the jury the evidence was there that J&J had covered up testing data and scientific studies that it knew showed the cosmetic-grade talc in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower contained asbestos.

In closing, Mr. Lanier also described for the jury the plaintiffs and their families, and reminded jurors of details of their testimony. He also told jurors they knew J&J had the motive (money) and the means (asbestos-tainted talc) to cause the injuries suffered by his clients.

CSI St. Louis
“This is CSI St. Louis, in a sense,” said Mr. Lanier.  “It’s your job to determine who is responsible, and the evidence says it’s Johnson & Johnson (and) that responsible party needs to be brought to justice.  (As) I told you at opening, it’s an easy thing to do.  You’ve seen it on TV. You’ve just got to follow the evidence.”

J&J Defense: “Stories are just fiction.”

Speaking for J&J’s defense in closing, attorney Peter Bicks criticized Lanier’s style.  Mr. Bicks told the jury an old lawyer aphorism that says: “When the facts are on your side, use the facts, when the law is on your side, use the law, and when you’ve got neither, bang the table.”   He credited Mr. Lanier credit as being a “showman” and a “storyteller, but some stories are just fiction.”

Mr. Bicks argued that the fiction being told is that J&J is only about profit and keeping an unsafe product on shelves to make a buck.  He reminded the jury of prior testimony from J&J’s own representatives, Susan Nicholson and John Hopkins.  They had told the jury not only that J&J talc was tested and found to be asbestos-free, but that they used it on themselves and their children.

Mr. Bicks said the talc litigation was driven by plaintiffs’ lawyers.  He said all the plaintiffs had discovered the alleged link between talcum powder and cancer through television ads sponsored by attorneys.

Following the verdict, J&J spokesperson Carol Goodrich also objected to the form of the trial. She said that allowing 22 plaintiffs to proceed in one case resulted in prejudice against J&J.  She said that despite their individual circumstances [some had died, some had survived, etc.], the verdict awarded each roughly the same amount.

Ms. Goodrich also said most of the women had no connection to Missouri, which J&J attorneys are sure to point out in an appeals process that she said would be forthcoming.

J&J ordered to pay $4.7 Billion for Talc Powder Cancer

Only time will tell if this verdict will be thrown out.  Many others have following judgements from this St. Louis court.  Things went south for plaintiffs generally after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year made a ruling which made it very difficult for injured people to sue a corporation in any state but their own or in the state where the corporation is located.

The American court system continues to move further and further to the right, at the behest of corporations at the expense of citizens.  But at the very least, this attention-grabbing verdict gives plaintiffs some hope that justice is still possible for them.  People injured by corporations which exist first and last to make profits for their own executives and shareholders need to be held accountable.  We congratulate the plaintiffs on the verdict and we congratulate Mr. Lanier, who we know – despite what the future may hold – is unquestionably right about at least one thing:  this St. Louis jury did give Johnson & Johnson a verdict the company will notice.

The case is Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson et al., case number 1522-CC10417, in the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri.

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Talcum Powder Cancer Attorney

J&J’s Flagship Product Trouble

Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Propaganda

J&J ordered to pay $4.7 Billion for Talc Cancer

 

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Experts can share Roundup Cancer Link

A California judge has ruled a plaintiff’s experts can share a Roundup cancer link with a jury in the first trial against Monsanto over its most popular poison Roundup.  A Monsanto lawsuit will consequently go forward.

Monsanto attorneys had attempted through numerous Daubert challenges to have the judge remove all of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses from the trial.  The judge’s decision to allow the testimony of three plaintiff’s experts could have far-reaching consequences.   Any testimony which links Roundup to cancer – more specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – may threaten Monsanto’s majority market share of the chemical farming poison industry.

Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said evidence that Roundup causes cancer seems “weak,” but the judge allowed that there was enough of it to let a jury hear the plaintiff’s experts’ opinions of that evidence.  That decision means hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto over its Roundup poison may move forward.

The lawsuits filed by cancer victims and their families say Monsanto knew for decades about Roundup’s cancer risk, yet failed to warn people of the dangers.

WHO Declares Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen

Roundup lawsuits against Monsanto gathered steam in 2015 when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate — the listed active ingredient in Roundup — a “probable human carcinogen.”  That finding unleashed a firestorm of protest from the chemical giant and its industry partners, and a flood of friendly press stories defending Monsanto and Roundup.

Monsanto EPA Collusion

Fallout from criticism of the WHO’s Roundup cancer declaration also revealed collusion, or at the very least, the rank appearance of collusion, between the EPA and Monsanto.  An EPA scientist was shown in emails to have worked behind the scenes to help the chemical giant discredit any cancer link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That EPA scientist (Jess Rowland) was shown in emails to have communicated with Monsanto to help the company thwart further study into the link between Roundup and cancer.  Another EPA scientist, dying of lymphoma herself, pleaded in an email with her Monsanto-linked colleague to tell the truth of Roundup’s link to cancer.

The EPA scientist working secretly to help Monsanto stuck by his guns in defending the company, but his dying colleague’s last efforts were not in vain.  Her telling email became public knowledge following lawsuit discovery which came to light when plaintiffs’ attorneys filed cases against Monsanto over Roundup.

Related:  Glyphosate poisons Cereal

Monsanto’s well-coordinated attacks against the WHO continue today, as press services across the country  — such as Reuter’s, Fortune magazine, and several others – continue a propaganda campaign to dismiss any Roundup cancer link.

Who’s using Junk Science?

In trying to have all of the plaintiff’s experts dismissed, Monsanto defense lawyers had tried to call all of the studies which found a Roundup cancer link “junk science.”  The hubris and hypocrisy of that Monsanto attack is astonishing.

In finding glyphosate a probable carcinogen, the WHO looked only at studies which were NOT sponsored, paid for, or otherwise connected with Monsanto.  WHO looked only at INDEPENDENT studies, those which were independent of Monsanto.  When the chemical giant’s defenders — like Reuter’s, Fortune, Snopes, and other fake news outlets — claim that hundreds of studies prove glyphosate is safe, they are looking only at studies paid for by Monsanto or sponsored by the company with a vested interest in the outcomes of those studies. Such studies which allow for no third-party (a disinterested third party) verification are the very definition of “junk science.”  Virtually all of the studies not paid for by Monsanto find some link between Roundup exposure and cancer.  Or else those studies which found no link between Roundup and cancer had major flaws.

Related:  Monsanto sued for False Advertising

Judge Chhabria spent a week in a March 2018 listening to testimony from epidemiologists on both sides of the argument. The judge asked both sides questions about the potential strengths and weaknesses of research on the cancer risk of glyphosate.

Testimony of UCLA Epidemiologist

A UCLA epidemiologist, Beate Ritz, testified that her review of scientific literature led to her conclusion that glyphosate and glyphosate-based compounds like Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Ms. Ritz said that a 2017 National Institute of Health study which found no association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had major flaws.

Monsanto Expert Testimony

Monsanto trotted out its own expert for the judge, a cancer epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Lorelei Mucci lauded the 2017 NIH study and reached the opposite conclusion which Ms. Ritz had.  Ms. Mucci told the judge:  “When you look at the body of epidemiological literature on this topic, there’s no evidence of a positive association between glyphosate and NHL risk.”

Judge:  “We don’t yet know”

Judge Chhabria concluded that there was “at least a strong argument that the only reasonable conclusion one could draw right now is that we don’t yet know” whether the herbicide is causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s.  It classified the poison as an antibiotic, and among its many dangerous properties, it also contributes to the growing worldwide problem of antibiotic resistance.

Besides its link with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, glyphosate has also been linked to kidney disease, liver damage, birth defects, Parkinson’s disease and more. The poison is sold today in more than 160 countries. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the U.S., use it on more than 200 types of crops.  Unwitting homeowners continue to use it on their lawns and gardens.

Monsanto also sells “terminator seeds” that can withstand the glyphosate as it kills the surrounding weeds and spawns superweeds which have evolved to withstand glyphosate’s toxic assault.  Glyphosate also kills the surrounding friendly flora and fauna in the environment as well as the friendly flora and fauna in the human gut.

The state of California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer following the IARC pronouncement that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Monsanto continues to attack the IARC, and it has sued the state of California to de-list glyphosate.

The U.S. EPA, which has been shown to be industry-compromised by its own internal emails with Monsanto, claims glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.  A draft report by EPA in 2017 claimed glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to people. The EPA report noted that science reviews by some other countries had reached the same conclusion, though Monsanto’s political and financial ties to those organizations make any such declarations questionable. Several countries, including France and Sweden, have banned glyphosate and Monsanto and other chemical company’s GMO’s.

Monsanto’s well-funded propaganda has paid off for the company in some respects, as a federal judge in Sacramento in February 2018 blocked California from requiring Roundup to carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer.  The judge said the warning would be misleading because almost all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

Experts can share Roundup Cancer Link

The problem with any such decision is that Roundup has been shown to be many times more toxic than glyphosate alone. An industry-controlled glitch in the country’s chemical regulatory system allows chemicals like glyphosate to be tested alone, which is preposterous.  Glyphosate is only one active ingredient listed in Roundup, and nobody applies glyphosate alone, without all of its ostensibly inactive additives.  Many of the so-called “inert” ingredients in Roundup have recently been shown to not be inert at all.  The gatekeepers cannot be allowed to play that duplicitous little game any longer.  Too much is at stake. Our lives depend on getting the real science of Roundup poison out to the public at large, so that all the people can see what kind of chemical monsters are poisoning our food and our lives.

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Pelvic Mesh MDL Closing to New Cases

(July 11, 2018) The pelvic mesh Federal Judge Joseph Goodwinmultidistrict litigation (MDL) court is closing to new cases.  Judge Joseph Goodwin, who oversees the MDL court in Charleston, W. Va., made the announcement last month.

Medical Mesh News Desk reports that the pelvic mesh MDL court was created in January 2012.  At its height, it was handling nearly 105,000 cases. Judge Goodwin issued orders on June 21, 2018 that no more cases would be filed in his federal court.

No More Cases Accepted in MDL 2327
With the MDL closing, any new case filings will need to be in state court, according to the order issued by Judge Goodwin. The judge issued the same order in each of the seven pelvic mesh MDLs filed in his federal court.

Charleston, WV MDL Court Closing
The largest MDL court was established for Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson).  Judge Goodwin wrote in Pretrial Order #304 in the Ethicon MDL #2327, that since January 2018, his court has requested cases no longer be transferred to MDL 2327.

Related:  Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon Mesh Losses Mount

On June 19, 2018, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation entered a Minute Order:

“The court ORDERS that plaintiffs may no longer direct file claims against Ethicon, Inc. or Johnson & Johnson or any related entities in the Ethicon MDL (as set forth in PTO # 118) or in any other pelvic mesh MDL assigned to the court.”

The other six MDLs  with the same order include all of the major pelvic mesh makers – C.R. Bard MDL 2187; American Medical Systems MDL 2325; Boston Scientific MDL 2326; Coloplast MDL 2387; Cook Medical MDL 2440; Neomedic MDL 2511.

State Court Cases
Heretofore, it appears that any plaintiff’s lawyer wishing to pursue a newly-signed pelvic mesh case will need to file it in a state court venue, either in the state where the mesh maker is located or in the state where the plaintiff lives.

Mesh News Desk reports that it is not known whether the plaintiff will be able to share in the extensive MDL “Discovery” already gathered to support the MDL cases for trial.  Discovery costs can quickly reach half a million dollars or more in a single case, so the question is an important one. One advantage of an MDL court is that discovery costs can often be shared across several cases, so in theory at least, that cost savings is one advantage of the MDL court which could disappear in the face of any future pelvic mesh litigation pursued in state courts. The MDL system can also decidedly cut trial preparation time.

But before the doors close entirely, the federal West Virginia MDL court will host two Wave trials, Wave 7 and 8, against Ethicon.

Wave 7 and 8 Trials
Wave 8 cases in the Ethicon MDL, the last major trial by the federal MDL court, should be concluded with discovery by October 2018 and made trial ready in a June 13th order by Judge Goodwin.

Ethicon / Johnson & Johnson still faces Wave 7 trials of approximately 150 pelvic mesh-injured women whose cases will be heard in the West Virginia federal court. Final settlement conferences are scheduled for August 1, 2018, with trial set to begin August 14.

The West Virginia MDL once contained 104,749 cases representing plaintiffs filing pelvic mesh cases against seven mesh makers. New cases slowed to a trickle beginning in 2018.

Pelvic Mesh MDL Closing to New Cases

The cases of Carolyn Lewis v. Ethicon; Donna Cisson v Bard; Jo Huskey v Ethicon; Tyree v. Boston Scientific; among others, have all been heard in Charleston since 2012.

Thousands Dismissed with Prejudice for non-revision
In the Ethicon MDL, Medical Mesh News Desk also reported that Judge Goodwin just announced that he was dismissing thousands of cases with prejudice because they were non-revision cases.

In Pretrial Order #293, issued Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Judge Goodwin said that the court would dismiss more than 13,000 Ethicon mesh cases in which the plaintiff has a mesh in place but has not attempted any removal or revision.

That judiciary decision could prove unfortunate for several women. Many suffer from such compromised health that they fear any return to a doctor’s office could leave them in worse shape than if they took their chances with their current condition or injuries.  Any revision or removal surgery can sometimes leave a person in worse shape than she was in before she opted for the revision or removal.

As Jane Akre reports, “There are many reasons a woman may not have her pelvic mesh removed – compromised health, a risk of going under anesthesia, a new complication to her health, a warning from her doctor that the risks of revision outweigh the benefit – all might preclude having a mesh removal.  Now that may count against her.”

“Dismissed with prejudice” usually means that a plaintiff may not bring another legal action with the same claim. “Dismissed with prejudice” usually means that the case is dismissed permanently, with no future recourse for the plaintiff to seek compensation.

A possible silver lining, according to Mesh News Desk, is that Ethicon/JJ has reportedly agreed that plaintiffs with more than one office revision who have trigger point injections, vaginal physical therapy or vaginal Valium will be treated the same as those plaintiffs who undergo revision surgery within five years.

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