In another TVM case, Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a federal court jury in West Virginia last month to pay $3.27 million in a lawsuit involving a defectively designed vaginal-mesh implant. The Plaintiff, Jo Huskey, said the implant eroded inside her and that she had to have surgery. The jurors found J&J’s Ethicon unit liable for Ms. Huskey’s injuries. The company’s TVT-O mesh sling, sold as a treatment for incontinence, was the culprit.
This is the second jury finding that J&J’s incontinence slings are defectively designed resulting in harm to women. J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., faces more than 30,000 lawsuits accusing Ethicon of making improperly designed vaginal inserts, such as the slings, that damaged women’s organs and made sexual relations very painful. The company reported the number of cases in a securities filing last month. In April, a jury in state court in Dallas concluded the design of the TVT-O sling implanted in Linda Batiste was defective and awarded the 64-year-old woman $1.2 million in compensatory damages. Interestingly, the TVT-O sling remains on the market.
Many of the vaginal-mesh cases against J&J and other implant makers have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, W. Va., for discovery and bellwether trials. Judge Goodwin presided over the trial of Ms. Huskey’s trial. Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX), C.R. Bard Inc. (BCR) and other makers of vaginal inserts targeted in suits had talks this year about settling cases over the devices. But J&J has refused to participate in settlement talks about its inserts.
Ms. Huskey, an assistant physical therapist from Illinois, got her Ethicon sling in 2011 and had surgery to remove the device later that year after suffering pain that made sex very difficult. In Ms. Huskey’s case, jurors found that J&J officials defectively designed the sling and failed to properly warn doctors and patients the device could erode, damaging organs and causing pain. During the trial, Judge Goodwin ruled that Ms. Huskey couldn’t seek punitive damages against J&J over the device maker’s handling and marketing of the sling. The case is in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston).
For more information on this subject contact Chad Cook or Leigh O’Dell, lawyers in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chad.Cook@beasleyallen.com or Leigh.Odell@beasleyallen.com.
Source: Jeff Feeley with Bloomberg News
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