Mesh lawyers representing the victims of transvaginal mesh complications continue to prosecute personal injury cases involving Ethicon Inc.’s pelvic mesh products. In March 2013, the nation’s first trial of an Ethicon mesh lawsuit ended with a New Jersey state court jury ordering Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon to pay $11.1 million in damages to a recipient of the company’s Gynecare ProLift pelvic mesh product. |
The plaintiff in the New Jersey Ethicon mesh lawsuit claimed that she had endured years of chronic pain, as well as 18 corrective surgeries, as a result of complications caused by ProLift mesh. The New Jersey Superior Court jury hearing her case ultimately decided that Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon unit failed to properly warn her doctors about the risks associated with the implant, and awarded her $3.35 million in compensatory damages, along with an additional $7.76 million in punitive damages.
“Punitive damages are rare in these types of cases, so this was significant. An award of this type indicates the jury found Johnson & Johnson acted with reckless indifference to the rights and safety of patients, and makes it clear that they were sending the company a message that its conduct was not acceptable,” Jeffrey S. Grand, a mesh lawyer who served on the plaintiff’s trial team, said in a statement issued by his law firm.
Transvaginal mesh devices like the one involved in the Ethicon mesh lawsuit are used in the surgical repair of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. In 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that there had been a five-fold increase in reports of serious complications associated with the use of transvaginal mesh. At the time, the FDA modified its previous position on the frequency of such complications, stating in the alert that vaginal mesh injuries associated with pelvic organ prolapse repair were not rare. Complications reported to the FDA in relation to the use of transvaginal mesh in pelvic organ prolapse surgery included mesh erosion through the vagina, pain, infection, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), organ perforation, and urinary problems. There were also reports of recurrent prolapse, neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring/shrinkage, and emotional problems. Many of these complications require additional intervention, including medical or surgical treatment and hospitalization, the FDA said.
Transvaginal mesh lawyers are currently representing thousands of women around the country in claims involving several manufacturers. Two consolidated proceedings for mesh lawsuits involving Ethicon and C.R. Bard, Inc. are underway in New Jersey Superior Court, Atlantic County. Federal multidistrict litigations for vaginal mesh lawsuits brought against Ethicon, C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific, and American Medical Systems are also pending in U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia. The first trial in the federal litigations is expected to begin this summer.
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