$3.35 Million Verdict in Vaginal Mesh Case Against Johnson & Johnson

A jury in New Jersey returned a $3.35 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the first phase of a Transvaginal surgical mesh case. The jury found that the drug company failed to adequately warn the women’s doctor of the dangers of a vaginal mesh implant made by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary. Furthermore, the jury found that the company misrepresented the product in brochures that it furnished to doctors.
This is the first verdict among some 1,800 vaginal mesh cases pending in New Jersey against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon. This should have an impact on thousands of lawsuits against other vaginal mesh manufacturers. The verdict in the Superior Court in Atlantic City, New Jersey, followed a six-week trial. The verdict in the first phase of the trial was for compensatory damages only.
The Ethicon product, before being taken off the U.S. market last year, was used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ collapse, a condition for which Linda Gross, a nurse, was treated in November 2008. That condition happens when the tissue that holds the pelvic organs in place is weak or stretched and bulges into the vagina. There are different types of this prolapsed condition, which usually occurs after menopause, childbirth or a hysterectomy.
The lawsuit was filed by Ms. Gross, 47, of Watertown, South Dakota, in November 2008. She claimed that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon were responsible for “their defective design, manufacture, warnings and instructions” and that the Gyncare Prolift vaginal mesh was unsafe.
Ms. Gross filed her lawsuit following a 2006 surgery which installed a Gyncare Prolift for pelvic prolapse. She claimed the surgery led to a variety of complications, including mesh erosion, scar tissue, inflammation and “neurologic compromise to…structures and tissue.” Ms. Gross had to have 18 subsequent operations to repair the damage caused by the mesh.

Source: Reuters