$2 Million Jury Verdict in Bard Transvaginal Mesh Trial Upheld

U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled in favor of the Plaintiff in allowing a $2 million verdict against transvaginal mesh manufacturer C.R. Bard to stand.  The jury verdict was handed down in the first federal lawsuit to go to trial related to injuries caused by defective vaginal mesh implants.

Plaintiff Donna Cisson filed the product liability complaint against C.R. Bard after suffering severe injuries and debilitating pain from an Avaulta transvaginal mesh device that she had implanted in 2009 to correct a pelvic organ prolapse.  Her lawsuit was the first to be tried out of more than 23,000 lawsuits against Bard and five other transvaginal mesh manufacturers. The cases have been consolidated for multidistrict litigation (MDL) in federal court in West Virginia.  Bard is a defendant in more than 4,000 of those cases.

The jury in the Cisson case awarded Ms. Cisson $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages.  Ms. Cisson is one of thousands of women who have received transvaginal mesh to repair common pelvic floor disorders including pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

Judge Goodwin held that Ms. Cisson did not need to provide the precise nature of a defect as an element under Georgia product liability law.  He ruled the jury had reasonable evidentiary basis for the complaint’s design defect claim.  In his ruling, Judge Goodwin said:

It was not necessary for the plaintiffs to specify the exact defect in the Avaulta Plus that injured Ms. Cisson, as long as they presented evidence to demonstrate that the device did not function as intended, and that it proximately caused Ms. Cisson’s injuries.

Concerning the failure-to-warn claim, Judge Goodwin ruled that Bard allegedly knew the composition of its product increased the risk of complications, but the company did not let physicians know about the risk.  Additionally, Judge Goodwin stated there was “abundant evidence” that the physician would not have implanted the device if he had access to all the information Bard had.

The case is Cisson et al v. C.R. Bard Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.  The MDL is In re: C.R. Bard Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, in the same court.


Sources: Law 360; Bloomberg and RightingInjustice.com