The trial in the case of Linda Batiste v. Ethicon came to a conclusion after more than two weeks with a jury award of $1.2 million in compensatory damages and a jury conclusion that the TVT-O mesh that damaged her was defectively designed.
That conclusion came April 3, 2014 in the Dallas trial that began March 17. The case was heard before Judge Ken Molberg in the 95th District Court in Dallas, Texas.
Linda Batiste, a former nurse, had been implanted with the Johnson & Johnson polypropylene “sling” known as a TVT-O (transobturator tape) which is used to hold up the urethra as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence. The mesh had caused pain, infection, mesh erosion and complications that continue today.
The TVT-O differs from the TVT (transvaginal tape) in that it passes under the urethra and out of the obturator space making the “hammock’ for the urethra almost horizontal. The obturator contains nerves, tissues and muscle making it vulnerable to damage during both implant, explant and during its time in the body.
The Batiste case was the first of several have had verdicts favoring the injured plaintiffs.
In the Scott v. C.R. Bard case in Bakersfield California, Scott was awarded $5.5 million with 60% coming from the manufacturer; Gross v. Ethicon, heard in New Jersey in February 2013 yielded an $11.1 million verdict; Cisson v. C.R. Bard heard in federal court in Charleston, WV resulted in a $2 million verdict for Ms. Cisson.
Appeal is Planned
According to Bloomberg (here), J&J plans to appeal the defective design verdict.
“The jury’s verdict on design defect is disappointing, and we believe we have strong grounds for appeal,” Matthew Johnson, an Ethicon spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
J&J officials noted the Dallas jury rejected Batiste’s claims that Ethicon didn’t provide proper warnings about the slings’ health risks and declined to award punitive damages.
While in 2012, J&J decided to remove several types of polypropylene mesh used for incontinence and prolapse, the TVT and TVT-O remain on the market.
Bloomberg reports, “This verdict represents the first time an impartial jury had the opportunity to decide whether Ethicon’s sling products are defective and they found exactly that,” Bryan Aylstock, a plaintiffs’ lawyer helping to oversee cases gathered before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in West Virginia, said in a phone interview. “We believe this is the first of many more verdicts to come over this dangerous product,” he added.
The transvaginal mesh trial of Martha Salazar v Boston Scientific will be hard before Judge Molberg August 25, 2014 in the same Dallas courtroom #