Verdict in Vaginal Mesh Case Upheld

In recent years, there have been thousands of lawsuits filed claiming injuries from the use of vaginal mesh in medical procedures.  This dangerous product has caused complications for many of its users.  One such case was brought in 2008 against the manufacturers of Gynecare mesh, namely Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon.  The plaintiff in this case received a Gynecare Prolift Swing as treatment for pelvic organ prolapse.  She claimed that while the device was implanted it hardened and gradually migrated through her vaginal wall.  As a result, she had to have 18 revision surgeries, even after which she had pain while sitting and during intercourse.  The jury in this case awarded the woman $11.1 million.  They decided that she deserved $3.35 million to compensate her for her injuries as well as $7.76 million in punitive damages.  Punitive damages are damages assessed to punish the defendant.

The defendant Ethicon made motions after the verdict was rendered and requested a new trial claiming that the plaintiff did not prove her case, should not have received punitive damages under the law and that the entire verdict was excessive.  The judge disagreed with them holding that they did not adequately warn users of the dangers associated with use of the product and that the plaintiff did in fact prove her case.  The court also found that punitive damages were allowed because the device was not FDA approved at the time it was used in the woman’s treatment.  The judge also found that the verdict was not excessive because the jury had the ability to asses more damages in this case but chose not to.

While the suit was going on, the defendants decided to gradually take many of the Gynecare Mesh products off the market.  They did not say why they made this decision but it believed that the dangers associated with the use of the product are contributing factors.  With so many lawsuits being filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies, it is surprising that they did not take the mesh off the market sooner.

Although you hope that medical treatment will make you feel better, it can make you feel worse when defective products and medical malpractice are involved.  If you think you may have a personal injury claim based on products liability or medical malpractice, call us at (973)618-0400.