After five days of deliberations, a jury in New Jersey awarded a $3.35 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the first case to come to trial over the company’s transvaginal mesh defective medical devices. The jury will next consider an award of punitive damages that could amount to $16.75 million.
The jurors determined that Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit did not warn the surgeon of a South Dakota woman of the risks associated with its Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh implant and that the woman was fraudulently misled. The plaintiff in the case alleged that she is in constant pain and was required to undergo 18 surgical procedures and over 400 doctor visits due to the defective medical device.
The jury found that Johnson and Johnson did not defectively design the medical device and did not make misrepresentations to the plaintiff’s surgeon.
“This verdict establishes that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon failed to tell physicians and women the truth about the catastrophic complications that can result from the Prolift,” said the plaintiff’s attorney. The attorney argued that Ethicon knew that the mesh would cause pain and injury to women.
The plaintiff was awarded compensatory damages of $1.1 million for pain and suffering, $180,000 for lost wages, $500,000 for future lost wages, $385,000 for past medical treatment, $1 million for future medical bills and $180,000 for her husband’s loss of consortium. New Jersey state law limits punitive damages at five times the compensatory damages, for a maximum punitive damage award in this case of $16.75 million. Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for willful and wanton actions.
More than 70,000 women in the United States received transvaginal mesh implants in 2010. In January 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard, Inc. and 31 other mesh manufacturers to study complications associated with vaginal mesh implants. Following that directive, several mesh manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson stopped selling many mesh products. Johnson & Johnson ceased sales of four mesh products, including the Prolift, citing lack of commercial viability, rather than safety issues.
More than 2,100 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson are pending. Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest manufacturer of medical products.
For more information, contact the Ohio transvaginal surgical mesh attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.