A woman who suffered serious complications related to Ethicon, Inc.’s TVT Abbrevo vaginal mesh device has been awarded $5.7 million by the California state court jury hearing her case. According to Reuters, the Kern County jurors deliberated for 3 days before finding that Ethicon was responsible for design defects associated with the mesh implant, and for failing to warn patients and doctors about its risks.
“I’m super grateful,” the plaintiff said after the verdict was read last Thursday, per a report from the Bakersfield Californian. “Of course I’m very happy about it not only for myself, but this is a step in the right direction for all the thousands upon thousands of mesh victims out there who are still waiting for their day in court.”
Court records indicate that the total awarded to the plaintiff included $700,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The plaintiff’s attorney told Reuters that the massive punitive damage award indicated that the jury had found that Ethicon’s conduct in regards to the Abbrevo device amounted to “malice.”
According to the transvaginal mesh lawsuit, the plaintiff received the Abbrevo implant in 2011 to treat stress urinary incontinence, and shortly after surgery began experiencing a “tugging” sensation. It’s since been determined that the mesh was eroding inside the woman’s body, a complication which her complaint contends will cause pain the rest of her life.
For their part, Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon continue to stand by the TVT Abbrevo implant, and have indicated they are considering options for appeal.
Court filings show that Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is facing more 36,000 product liability claims over its various vaginal mesh products. So far, it has lost four of five cases that have gone to trial, including the California lawsuit, one bellwether case that was heard in the multidistrict litigation underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, and two other transvaginal mesh lawsuit that went to trial in New Jersey and Texas state courts.
The company’s sole victory in a pelvic mesh claim came in the federal multidistrict litigation in West Virginia, when the Court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment as a matter of law.