Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon has been denied a new trial that would have struck an $11.1 million verdict in the first bellwether trial over allegedly defective transvaginal mesh.
“There was strong evidence presented and multiple sources of evidence that in fact there were many problems with this product,” Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee said in court.
Despite the ruling, Ethicon spokesman Matthew Johnson said the company isn’t giving up. “We will be filing an appeal in this case as we believe the jury’s verdict and damage awards were not supported by the evidence presented at trial,” he said. The jury awarded $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages.
The litigation involves thousands of lawsuits from women who claimed they were injured by Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift pelvic mesh implant. The mesh is used to treat common pelvic floor disorders including pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Plaintiffs allege that the mesh has a high failure rate and can cause serious complications including eroding into organs and vaginal walls, causing chronic pain, bleeding, incontinence and other injuries.
The lawsuits were filed in 2008, just before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first alerted the public that complications with transvaginal mesh products were not uncommon and women should weigh the risks before having the mesh implanted.
Nearly 6,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against Ethicon in New Jersey. The multicounty litigation also includes nearly 1,500 similar lawsuits against medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard.
An additional 59,061 lawsuits over these and other transvaginal mesh implants have been filed in federal court and referred to multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of West Virginia naming several transvaginal mesh makers.
Source: NJ Law Journal