NJ woman awarded $3.5 million in first transvaginal mesh lawsuit verdict against Ethicon

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by Heygood Orr and Pearson

A New Jersey woman has been awarded $3.35 million in her transvaginal mesh lawsuit against Ethicon—a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that manufactured the mesh. The verdict is the first ever in a surgical mesh lawsuit involving Ethicon and second mesh verdict overall.

Transvaginal surgical mesh products are used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The Food and Drug Administration has warned that surgery with transvaginal mesh carries unique risks that are not found with other surgical treatments for these conditions. Manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products include American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, Covidian, C.R. Bard, and Gynecare.

According to her lawsuit against Ethicon, Linda Gross paid more than 400 visits to her doctor and underwent 18 surgical procedures in order to treat the damage caused by Ethicon surgical mesh. The jury in Gross’ case ruled that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon were liable for failing to properly warn her about the health risks she faced from using surgical mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

The recent verdict is the second to be handed down in a lawsuit involving transvaginal mesh. In June 2012, a jury awarded $5.5 million to a California woman who suffered complications after using a transvaginal mesh product manufactured by C.R. Bard.

The $3.35 million verdict that was awarded to Gross in this week’s ruling represents only the compensatory damages for pain and suffering that she suffered. Jurors are also scheduled to consider an award for punitive damages against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson, which could amount to as much as five times the compensatory damages that have already been awarded.

More than 2,100 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon have been filed by patients who were injured after using transvaginal mesh. Several thousand more transvaginal surgical mesh lawsuits have also been filed against the manufacturers of other mesh products.