West Virginia jurors awarded $3.27 million last Friday to the plaintiff in a transvaginal mesh case against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, according to Reuters.com.
The verdict was reached on September 5th in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, where jurors found for the plaintiff in a trial that lasted only two weeks. Ethicon was found liable for selling a TVT-O mesh sling that was defective, and for failing to warn women and their doctors about pain, bleeding, infection and other side effects that may stem from its use. This case was the second of thousands to be heard in West Virginia federal court, where a multidistrict litigation now includes more than 19,380 claims.
According to claims, the plaintiff in this transvaginal mesh lawsuit received an Ethicon Gynecare TVT-O device when she was 52 years old. Soon after the 2011 implantation, she began suffering pelvic pain and other side effects later noted in her case. The plaintiff’s lawyer said her $3.27 million transvaginal mesh verdict “sends a very clear message to Ethicon that these products and these cases are extremely serious.”
A recent statement from Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon suggests that the company plans to fight the September verdict, and defend the safety of its Gynecare products. The TVT-O implant “was properly designed, and Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the product,” said a spokesperson for Ethicon.
Before West Virginia’s most recent Ethicon verdict, jurors in the state ruled in favor of the company in a similar mesh trial that concluded in February. A New Jersey jury found for the plaintiff in 2013 in a case that resulted in an $11 million verdict, according to court records, which also show a $1.2 million damage award last April in Texas state court.
In addition to Ethicon mesh lawsuits now filed in the Southern District of West Virginia, thousands of claims are also pending in a consolidated state litigation underway in New Jersey. A Case List in New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court indicates that over 7,000 Gynecare lawsuits had been filed in the proceeding as of August 30th.