The trial of Linda Batiste v. Ethicon concluded April 3, 2014, just before 6pm central time with the jury returning a verdict that the TVT-O mesh implanted in Batiste was defectively designed.
That was the central count to this product liability trial. The jury awarded her $1.2 million.
This marks the second state verdict for the plaintiff in defective product actions naming Ethicon, the women’s health and urology division of Johnson & Johnson, over its transvaginal mesh products.
The TVT-O is used to treat stress urinary incontinence. It contains a mesh made of polypropylene that is permanently implanted through the vagina. The complaints say mesh erodes, causes infection, nerve damage, chronic pain and is difficult if not impossible to completely remove since it is intended to be a permanent implant.
Here is what the Dallas jury decided tonight.
Compensatory Damages = $1.2 million
Design defect of the TVT-O- Affirmative 8 – 2
Defective marketing/Instructions – No
No Punitive Damages!
Aaron Horton our Court Watcher says “Oddly, the two dissenting jurors were women in the baby boomer generation. All of the men voted Yes.”
In order for punitive damages to be awarded, the jury had to be unanimous. They were not.
Closing arguments presented both sides to the jury for their final consideration this afternoon. (See backgound story here.)
Friday Add* In a statement issued to Fierce Medical Devices, Matthew Johnson, a spokesman for J&J, said “We believe the evidence showed Ethicon’s TVT-O pelvic mesh was properly designed and that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research development and marketing of the product. The jury’s verdict on design defect is disappointing, and we believe we have strong grounds for appeal.”
And there is more from Matthew Johnson, spokesman:
“We emphasize with all women suffering from SUI, which can be a serious and debilitating condition, and we are always concerned when a patient experiences adverse medical events.” Johnson continued. “TVT-O has been deemed safe and effective by regulators and practitioners alike and it continues to be an important option for treating physicians to offer to women suffering from SUI.”
Linda Gross v. Ethicon
This was the second time the healthcare giant faced a defective product case filed by a mesh-injured woman in state court. On February 22, 2013, a New Jersey jury decided that the Prolift mesh implanted in Linda Gross was not defectively designed by a 9-0 verdict. The jurors decided that Ethicon failed to provide adequate warning to her implanting physician (7-2). The plaintiff in that case proved a fraudulent inadequate warning was given to Ms. Gross (7-2).
She was awarded $3.35 million in compensatory damages after a 27-day trial. The punitive damages to send Ethicon a message by a 7-2 vote were $7.76 million.
In the Gross v. Ethicon trial it was shown Ethicon never determined before it sold TVT-O how complications would be handled.
Federal Trial of C. Lewis v. Ethicon
There have been just three product liability trials naming Ethicon. Last February, the case of C. Lewis v. Ethicon was heard in Charleston, WV where 17,518 cases naming Ethicon are consolidated. That case was brought to a rapid close February 17, with Judge Joseph Goodwin, displaying frustration with the case, granted the defendant its motion for a directed verdict just as Ethicon was about to begin its case.
Ethicon leads the seven manufacturers with the most cases, followed closely by American Medical Systems at 17,111. The others include C.R. Bard (8,195); Boston Scientific (11,274); Coloplast (1,422); Cook (230); and Neomedic (11).
Additionally, in New Jersey Superior Court there are 5,000 Ethicon cases filed. New Jersey is the home state of Ethicon. Hundreds if not thousands more cases are filed around the U.S. and around the globe as the U.S. exports its medical devices.
Women from Australia, France, Canada, Zimbabwe, Israel, Scotland, as well as other countries have called Mesh News Desk about their product liability actions filed in their countries.
Jurors in this Dallas court were not allowed to hear about the numbers in this Mass Tort.
Altogether there are 55,761 cases filed in the Southern District of West Virginia against all seven defendants.