Bellwether Vaginal Mesh Verdict of $11 Million Bodes Well for Future Claimants


March 23, 2013

Plaintiffs across the U.S. who have suffered serious complications caused by vaginal mesh have reason to be optimistic following the recent $11 million verdict in the Bellwether trial involving vaginal mesh litigation.

The judgment by a New Jersey jury continues the momentum generated by a $5.5 million verdict by a California jury in the first ever vaginal mesh trial last year. The New Jersey verdict represents the first of the cases concerning the medical device that are part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) concerning the medical device.

Linda Gross, the plaintiff in the landmark case, is a nurse from South Dakota who suffered such serious injuries that she was forced to endure eighteen surgeries because of complications caused by the Gynecare Prolift pelvic mesh device. A representative from Johnson & Johnson testified at the trial that this model of vaginal mesh failed within six months twenty percent of the time before it was even made available to the public according to Bloomberg.com. The Johnson and Johnson (J&J) official also testified at trial that 27 percent of Prolift implants failed within twelve months. This evidence, which supported the plaintiff’s request for punitive damages, provided a compelling enough case that the jury awarded $7.7 million in punitive damages against Johnson and Johnson.

The Bloomberg report also indicated that documents were unsealed prior to the trial that revealed that J&J sold Prolift vaginal mesh without seeking FDA approval for several years. The documents also indicated that the medical device company continued to sell the pelvic mesh device even after the FDA directed it to discontinue marketing the device until appropriate documents were provided to the agency. During closing arguments in the trial, the attorneys for the claimant revisited emails and videos that demonstrated the medical device manufacturer’s repeated disregard of reports regarding serious complications prior to rushing the vaginal mesh device to the market.

There are currently about 2,100 pelvic mesh cases pending primarily involving four manufacturers which include Boston Scientific, Johnson and Johnson, American Medical Systems and Ethicon. The number of cases against the manufacturers of vaginal mesh has grown consistently following an FDA warning issued in 2011 that indicated a five-fold increase in adverse event reports involving serious complications. The complications reported to the FDA and reflected in the pending vaginal mesh litigation include scarring, infection, pain and other serious medical complications caused by mesh erosion.

While the punitive damage award may be appealed, the verdict indicates the mindset of jurors in pending cases, which should provide an incentive for manufacturers of the vaginal mesh medical product to settle future cases. Those injured by a vaginal mesh implant may have a legal claim for corrective medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, diminished quality of life, punitive damages and/or other forms of damages depending on the claimant’s specific circumstances.

If you have received a vaginal mesh implant for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and have suffered severe complications, our experienced Georgia products liability attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.