A federal judge in West Virginia has ruled that seven plaintiffs in transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed against Boston Scientific may pursue claims for punitive damages. According to an Order issued by U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia, the plaintiffs did establish a question of fact as to whether Boston Scientific’s handling of the Obtryx sling was wanton, willful, or reckless.
Judge Goodwin is overseeing more than 60,000 transvaginal mesh claims that are currently pending in litigations underway in the Southern District of West Virginia, including more than 14,000 that have been filed against Boston Scientific. The litigation’s first trial of a Boston Scientific mesh claim is scheduled to begin next month
The seven Boston Scientific cases subject to Judge Goodwin’s October 9th Order were filed on behalf of women who allegedly suffered serious vaginal mesh complications due to the Obtryx Transobturator Mid-Urethral Sling System. Among other things, the lawsuits claim that the company was aware that a polypropylene material used in the implants wasn’t safe for human implantation. Plaintiffs also noted that an internal document suggests the company failed to conduct long-term safety studies on the material, even though executives knew they were needed.
“In light of this evidence, I find that there is a genuine dispute of material fact whether BSC’s actions with respect to the Obtryx device warrant an award of punitive damages,” Judge Goodman concluded.