The Fourth Circuit Upheld a $3.27 Million Verdict Issued Against Johnson & Johnson’s Subsidiary, Ethicon Inc., for its Defective Transvaginal Mesh
A $3.27 million verdict was upheld by the Fourth Circuit for a woman who suffered pain from a defective transvaginal pelvic mesh implant. In 2012, the woman sued Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for its use of a heavyweight polypropylene mesh in a medical device designed to treat stress urinary incontinence. This January ruling was important because the mesh lawsuit culminated in a bellwether trial – a trial which indicates future trends because it deals with an issue common to many other claims.
- The initial suit was brought against Ethicon in 2012 and the jury returned a $3.27 million compensatory damage verdict in late 2014.
- The claim stated that the polypropylene mesh of the plaintiff’s TVT-O sling eroded, which caused severe pain and the mesh could not be completely removed through surgery.
- The claim alleged that the design defect of the product was the use of a heavyweight polypropylene mesh instead of a lightweight mesh.
- A former employee of Ethicon stated that a lightweight mesh could have been effectively used instead of the heavyweight mesh – this would have lowered the risk of a negative reaction to the product.
- Ethicon tried to argue that it was shielded by a product liability doctrine known as “comment k,” which holds that some products are unavoidably unsafe but cannot be considered unreasonably dangerous.
- The court rejected the “comment k” defense, noting that the evidence which suggested the heavyweight mesh was a design defect and also suggested “comment k” would not be a shield for Ethicon.
What does this Ruling Mean for Other Women Suffering from Pain Caused by Transvaginal Mesh?
This mesh lawsuit culminated in a bellwether trial – a trial over claims that have common factors to many other women’s claims. Thus, the January 2017 ruling indicates trends in favor of the victims in future trials for lawsuits with the same claims. Since the ruling in this trial confirmed that the woman did show sufficient evidence that Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh caused her injuries, future plaintiffs with similar injuries will have a fighting chance. As a result, many other claims against Ethicon for their allegedly defective transvaginal mesh may also succeed. In fact, this past September J&J was slammed with a $57 million verdict in favor of another woman who sued for injuries resulting from a mesh implant.
How Can Waters Kraus & Paul Help Women who have been Injured by Transvaginal Mesh?
Waters Kraus & Paul is a mid-sized plaintiffs’ firm with years of experience in the field of medical device injuries. We fight for the justice that women injured by defective medical devices, such as transvaginal mesh, deserve. “Many women who have had children undergo vaginal mesh surgery because they experience a little urine leakage when they cough, sneeze or laugh,” says Waters Kraus & Paul partner Gibbs Henderson. “What had been a minor inconvenience turns into a full-blown nightmare.” At Waters Kraus & Paul, our transvaginal mesh attorneys, like Mr. Henderson, treat every client like family.
If you have been injured by a defective medical device, such as transvaginal mesh produced by Ethicon, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Waters Kraus & Paul will aggressively pursue the justice that you deserve. Email us or call 800.226.9880 to discuss your potential medical device injury claim.