Jury returns $11 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in transvaginal surgical mesh lawsuit

by Michael Heygood

A jury has found that Johnson & Johnson must pay a South Dakota woman $3.35 million for failing to adequately warn her doctor of the potential dangers of a vaginal mesh implant made by the company’s Ethicon subsidiary, and for misrepresenting the product in brochures. After their initial verdict, the jury added another $7.8 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson. It is only the first verdict among thousands of vaginal mesh cases pending in New Jersey and elsewhere against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson.

Before being taken off the American market last year, the Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh was used to treat pelvic organ collapse, a condition that occurs when tissue that holds the pelvic organs in place is weak or stretched and bulges into the vagina. In the numerous Prolift lawsuits still pending, plaintiffs around the country are alleging that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon marketed the device despite knowing of design flaws that could result in scarring, nerve damage and organ perforation. Johnson & Johnson pulled Prolift off the market last year–citing a decline in demand, not safety concerns.

The recent $11 million verdict came in a lawsuit that was brought by Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, South Dakota in November 2008. The suit asserted that the Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh was not safe and that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon were liable, among other things, for “their defective design, manufacture, warnings and instructions.”

Ms. Gross had an operation in 2006 to install a Gynecare Prolift for pelvic prolapse. Her lawsuit alleged that the operation led to a variety of problems, including mesh erosion, scar tissue, inflammation and “neurologic compromise.” According to her suit, she had to have 18 operations to repair the damage caused by the mesh.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

Hundreds of patients have filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits against the manufacturers of these products, which include Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Gynecare, and American Medical Systems. A class action lawsuit on behalf of women who were treated with transvaginal mesh has also been filed.

If you or a loved one was treated with transvaginal surgical mesh and have suffered complications from this product, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. For more information and to find out if you are eligible to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-447-9001 or by completing the free case evaluation form located on this page.