Punitive damages verdict brings total award in surgical mesh lawsuit to more than $11.1 million

by Heygood Orr and Pearson

A jury in New Jersey has awarded a $7.76 million punitive damages verdict to a woman who suffered serious injuries after being treated with Ethicon transvaginal surgical mesh. Earlier, jurors awarded the plaintiff, Linda Gross, $3.35 million in compensatory damages for pain and suffering, bringing the total verdict to more than $11.1 million.

According to her transvaginal mesh lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Gross was treated with an Ethicon Prolift surgical mesh device. The lawsuit alleged that J&J and Ethicon failed to properly warn Gross and her doctor about the risk of side effects she could face from using Ethicon surgical mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence. Gross made over 400 visits to her doctor and underwent 18 surgical procedures to treat the damage to her body caused by Ethicon mesh.

The verdict in Gross’ lawsuit against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson is the second major verdict handed down in a surgical mesh lawsuit. In June 2012, a California woman was awarded $5.5 million in her lawsuit against C.R. Bard over injuries caused by the company’s transvaginal mesh products.

Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon are currently facing more than 2,100 lawsuits filed by women who were injured after receiving one of the company’s surgical mesh products to treat stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Lawyers have predicted that the two transvaginal mesh verdicts that have been handed down so far could help the plaintiffs in these lawsuits to reach settlements over the injuries that they suffered due to surgical mesh.