A jury returned another verdict against a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Mentor Worldwide LLC, in a Georgia federal court last month. That case involved a pelvic mesh implant called an ObTape sling. The jury determined the medical device was defectively designed, and said Mentor failed to warn a woman injured by the device, or her doctor, about the possibility of injury. The jury awarded $4.4 million in damages. The verdict included $400,000 in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says reported complications from transvaginal placement of surgical mesh for treatment of conditions including stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse include erosion of the mesh into vaginal tissue, organ perforation, pain, infection, painful intercourse, and urinary and fecal incontinence. Often women require surgery to remove the mesh. In some cases, this can require multiple procedures without successfully removing all the mesh.
Plaintiff Tessa Taylor was implanted with the ObTape, a type of “bladder sling,” to treat her incontinence in 2004. She says for the next seven years she experienced bladder pain, back pain and bladder discomfort, and had trouble urinating. In 2011, after a variety of diagnoses that didn’t help her, like bladder inflammation and vaginitis, Taylor was diagnosed with stress urinary incontinence, and her doctor recommended they remove the ObTape and replace it with another type of bladder sling.
Ms. Taylor filed suit against Mentor in 2014, joining hundreds of other lawsuits against the company that were consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL). Mentor has settled more than 100 of the claims related to its ObTape prior to the consolidation, agreeing to establish a trust fund to compensate victims. The company also has settled two scheduled bellwether cases prior to their going to trial. The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The MDL is in the same venue.
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