CHARLESTON -- A Charleston couple is suing Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., after a defective stapler malfunctioned during surgery.

On Feb. 6, 2009, Sandra Hershberger underwent surgery to reconnect her colon following an internal colostomy and an Ethicon Proximate ILS Intraluminal Circular Stapler was used, according to a complaint filed April 16 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Hershberger and her husband, David Mitchell, claim the Ethicon stapler malfunctioned and failed to discharge staples, with resulted in perforation of the colon and necessitating further surgical and other medical treatment.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants were negligent in the design, manufacture, assembly, testing, inspection, provision with warnings and instructions, marketing and distribution the staplers.

Hershberger and Mitchell are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Marvin W. Masters.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-724

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