A transvaginal mesh lawsuit plaintiff has been granted a damages hearing, less than two months after the Pennsylvania jury hearing her claim returned a verdict for Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon, Inc. subsidiary.
Kimberly Adkins’ complaint was among dozens filed against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon in a mass tort program currently underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The Ohio woman was implanted with Ethicon’s TVT-Secur mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence in July 2010, and claims that the device eroded into her vagina, resulting in chronic pain.
Her case was the fifth Ethicion pelvic mesh lawsuit to go to trial in Philadelphia. Jurors returned a verdict for the defense on June 9th, after concluding that TVT-Secur was not responsible for Adkins’ injuries. However, they did find that the device was defectively designed and agreed that Ethicon had failed to warn doctors and patients about its potential risks.
The verdict was the first time a Pennsylvania jury had found in favor of Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon in a transvaginal mesh lawsuit. The companies had been ordered to pay damages of $2.16 million, $12.5 million, $13.5 million and $20 million at the conclusion of four previous Philadelphia trials.
Adkins filed a post-trial motion for a damages hearing on June 19th, arguing that the jury’s findings were inconsistent.
“Even if the jury disbelieved plaintiff’s testimony, found the testimony inconsistent or concluded plaintiff was exaggerating her injuries, the jury was not free to reject the undisputed consensus of both sides’ experts and the treating physician that plaintiff suffered some injury from the implantation of mesh,” the motion said.
According to The Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos granted Adkins’ motion last week.
Transvaginal mesh implants are intended to treat women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. However, reports linking the devices to thousands of serious injuries and complications have prompted the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to issue several warnings regarding their use. In fact, the agency no longer considers complications associated with transvaginal prolapse repair to be rare, and has expressed doubts that these devices offer any additional benefits over traditional, non-mesh methods of prolapse repair.
In 2012, Ethicon announced it would end sales of TVT-Secur mesh and three other transvaginal mesh devices, citing commercial concerns rather than safety reasons. However, the FDA had previously ordered Ethicon and other vaginal mesh manufacturers to conduct further research into the risks associated with their products.
More than 54,000 women are currently pursuing transvaginal mesh lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon in courts nationwide. Tens of thousands of additional cases have been filed against Boston Scientific Corp., C.R. Bard, Inc., and other device makers.