Boston Scientific has suffered its latest in a series of losses in product liability cases involving its pelvic meshes.
Thursday afternoon, a West Virginia jury determined each of the four plaintiff cases, consolidated in this federal court, should receive $1 million in punitive damages in their case against Boston Scientific in additional to compensatory damages totaling $18.5 million in this latest litigation over the company's implantable pelvic mesh.
In this case, all four women were implanted with the Obtryx mesh, a mid-urethral sling used to treat incontinence. This case was the second federal case in multidistrict litigation filed over Boston Scientific's pelvic mesh and the third case since September in which plaintiffs were awarded damages.
The compensatory and punitive damages damages in the case are:
Campbell - $3.25 million plus $1 million in punitive damages
Wilson - $3.75 million plus $1 million in punitive damages
Tyree - $3.25 million plus $1 million in punitive damages
Blankenship - $4.25 million plus $1 million in punitive damages
*New - The jurors decided in each case the Obtryx was defectively designed, the instructions to physicians were insufficient and that the company was negligent in its manufacture and design of the Obtryx. Each of those failures led to the injuries of the four plaintiffs, the jury decided.
The jury decided a relatively modest $1 million in punitive damages should be awarded to each woman. Charleston, West Virginia attorney Harry Bell tells Mesh News Desk that this amount shows how reasonable WV juries are.
"If it had been a big number, it could be written off as a crazy jury decision. We are not used to big numbers here but they still found punitive damages. This amount should be a wake-up call to Boston Scientific in this relatively conservative venue. The numbers are adding up."
Last week, a nine-person jury in Miami delivered $26.7 million in compensatory damages to four women who were implanted with the Pinnacle Pelvic Mesh Repair Kit, a Boston Scientific product that has since been recalled from the market. There were no punitive awards in that case and the Pinnacle was found to be defectively designed and the company negligent in bringing it to market.
Mesh News Desk has requested a comment from Boston Scientific but received no reply from the communications department.
The Obtryx II, an updated version of the Obtryx, remains on the market today. It is a polypropylene mesh strip fitted under the urethra to treat stress urinary incontinence.
This case - Tyree v Boston Scientific (2:12-cv-08633) - was heard before U.S. District Judge Irene Berger. More than 67,000 cases against seven mesh manufacturers have been consolidated in that federal court in West Virginia.
Last September in Martha Salazar v. Boston Scientific, Salazar was awarded $73 million by the jury and the Obtryx was found to be defective in its design. That jury award included $50 million in punitive damages. It was later reduced to $34 million due to state caps. The Miami jury did not award punitive damages but found the Pinnacle Pelvic Mesh Repair kit was also defectively designed and the company was negligent.
Boston Scientific, a Massachusetts-based company is facing 23,000 defective product lawsuits over its family of pelvic mesh products, some of which have been quietly removed from the market. #
Chris Wilson- Jury verdict form
Jacquelyn Tyree - Jury verdict form
Carol Campbell - Jury verdict form
Jeanie Blankenship - Jury verdict form
Boston Scientific Feeling Heat from Series of Losses, Reuters, November 21, 2014