Jury Awards $2 Million to Donna Cisson in First Federal Transvaginal Case Against C.R. Bard

//Jury Awards $2 Million to Donna Cisson in First Federal Transvaginal Case Against C.R. Bard

Jury Awards $2 Million to Donna Cisson in First Federal Transvaginal Case Against C.R. Bard

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

Breaking News ~ 5: 31 pm

The jury just awarded Donna and Dan Cisson $1,750,000 in punitive awards in their product liability lawsuit against C.R. Bard & Co.  The punitive phase was entered into after the compensatory award of $250,000 was announced late this afternoon.

That brings the jury award to $2 million.

Here is that story:

On Thursday afternoon the jurors in the Donna Cisson v. Bard trial decided the 55-year-old woman’s injuries were severe enough to award her $250,000 in compensatory damages.

The product liability case went to the jury Wednesday morning. It took the six jurors 12 hours to render a decision against the New Jersey-based C.R. Bard, the maker of  the Avaulta line of polypropylene meshes used to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

Jurors in first Cisson trial, July 2013, art by Akre

Jurors in first Cisson trial, July 2013, art by Akre

The six jurors found Mrs. Cisson had proven her claims the Bard Avaulta Plus mesh implanted in her in 2009 was defective in both its design and in a failure to warn her implanting physician, Dr. Brian Raybon of Toccoa, Georgia.

The jury also found Bard did not prove its assumption of the risk defense and that Mr. Cisson did not prove his claim for loss of consortium.

The jurors decided there is a basis for punitive damages which was decided in the courtroom after the compensatory damages were announced.

This is the first federal case, one of more than 28,000 pending in this federal court that allege the polypropylene medical device was not suitable for human implantation.

Bard had argued that Donna Cisson’s damages should be mitigated by her failure to lose weight has she had been told to do by her doctors and by a failure to use estrogen cream.

Linda Gross

Linda Gross, Courtesy Courtroom View Network

Last February, jurors in Atlantic City, New Jersey found for plaintiff Linda Gross and awarded her $11.1 million in her product liability lawsuit against Ethicon, (Johnson & Johnson), including $7.76 million in punitive damages. That award is on appeal.

Also on appeal is a California state case naming defendant C.R. Bard that rendered a $5.5 million verdict over the Bard Avaulta mesh for plaintiff, Christine Scott and her husband.

Christine Scott September, 2012

Christine Scott September, 2012

This was the first of more than 4,100 cases filed naming manufacturer C.R. Bard. There are five other defendants and about 28,000 cases consolidated in the same court waiting for their day before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Last January the cases were transferred there by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML).

The other defendants include Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson), Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems, Coloplast and Cook.

There are 4,193 cases pending against C.R. Bard and more than 28,000 filed naming all six defendants.

The women all contend that the mesh  implants can erode, cause infection and pain, bleeding and require mesh-removal surgeries. Often the mesh cannot be entirely removed because the arms are deeply embedded because the device is intended to be a permanent implant.

The next trial, Wanda Queen v. C.R. Bard (2:11-cv-00012) will begin August 19 in the same federal courtroom. In all there will be four back-to-back trials naming C.R. Bard as a defendant alleging the mesh it made was defective in its design and in its failure to warn. #



By | 2013-08-15T16:19:50+00:00 August 15th, 2013|Legal News|30 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. jade August 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    This $250,000 is just another INSULT to this woman! If she couldn’t get the millions we deserve – we ALL need better lawyers to represent us! Those of us with these horrific, criminal injuries, living day-by-day in pain and suffering, looking forward only to the hope of a new treatment/surgery to help rid us of our mesh pain – have spent move that $250K in medication, traveling to doctors – not to mention our lose of husbands, children, grandchildren because they no longer recognize us! This award is just another SLAP in the face to women! Lori Cohen must be the happiest person on Earth at this moment!

    • Jane Akre August 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      Not really, she lost her case. There is a basis for punitive damages so this story is not over yet.

    • Sherrell Einsig November 6, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

      I noticed this posting and totally agree with what is said. I have had several surgeries including: 1 insertion of the mesh, 1 revision with additional mesh added, 1 removal of mesh. With many other procedures including nerve oblations, prednisone injections in the vagina and loss of employment. I have lost 2 relationships and now alone trying to move on. I am in more pain than ever and have lost hope that it will ever get better. To bet all…..my health insurance company that approved the initial surgeries now want their money back for the expenses they paid.

      I do agree we need millions to make up for all the losses we have had. I am in trouble and do not know where to turn. Please take care.

      • Jane Akre November 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

        Sherrell~ Do you have your medical records including operative notes? do you have adequate health care at this time? Where are you located, perhaps some folks can recommend someone at least in your region of the country. Are you represented? So many questions. please get back…You must be your own best advocate at this time. Thank you~ jane a.

    • Colleen December 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      It’s so pathetic that physicians also ignore warnings on mesh injuries. It’s good to see awards but the money will never give her back her life. I ‘m determined to NOT LET ANY DOCTOR USE THAT ON ME. I don’t want a hysterectomy, I want my prolapse repaired W/out mesh! The uterus serves more purposes than doctors know or even some women don’t know too hence they end up being guinea pigs for doctors not skilled enough to repair POP, OR SUI. I have done lots of research for over 5 yrs on this.

      This just sickens me. I believe Christine Kent is correct re: our lack of proper posture.

  2. jade August 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Sorry, losing her case would have been in the millions. The 4 Sheep cost more than $250,000. Bard is happy right now!

  3. Joleen Chambers August 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Guilty of deception and brutal commerce. This guilt is shared by our government that allows this implanted device (and many others!) to be cleared. The FDA stated mission is to assure safety and effectiveness. The agency obscures the facts that regulatory legislation entitles the medical device industry and allows patient harm and weakens civil rights to justice. The tide is changing because device failures are eating into our national GDP and it is not sustainable. Oh, and it is morally wrong!

    • Lucille August 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Maybe the FDA shld be held accountable for saying the mesh is cleared and passed all tests and is safe to use!!! There are than one hand in this mesh mess that was passed.

  4. Betty August 15, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    I am so happy – I have tears in my eyes. The punitive damages do not go anywhere near giving Donna her life back or that of her husband. But I am so happy the jury saw through Lori Cohen and her confidence. Her record is broken and the truth came out!! Trying to blame the victim as has happened in each case so far seems to back fire. I was so worried ahead of time because it seemed like the judge cut the court time too short and that there was much more that needed to be brought out. There is so much more to the story. I hope the FDA wakes up. After reading all these documents the last few days I’ve come to believe no SLING is safe, no matter what the material. There should be no messing around with the human pelvis until the scientist know exactly what is where (nerves etc.) can map them on the body and understand all the mechanical and biological implications. Science has fallen so short in this area. This applies to hernia mesh also. I know of a man whose mesh is breaking up on the right side (he’s been told it shattered) and he is just being given cortisone shots. He believes his Dr.’s. It’s just so sad all around.

  5. Michele August 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    I am a Meshie too. I’m wondering if any of us will live long enough to see any of the money from these cases. Earlier, before all these cases came about, I tried to find an attorney who would help me, I was told to go home, and be a wife and mother and get over it. I was told that I signed the consent and there was nothing i could do. In my headIi thought…ya i’ll go home and sit in my diaper because i;m so tore up vaginally i can’t do anything else. be a wife…only in presence, be a mother…from the sidelines. What these procedures have done to the mind, body and soul of many women can’t be fixed with money. I want to feel like a woman again, I want to be able to enjoy my life not from the sidelines. The utter humiliation and insensitivity that these cases have been dealt with is a travesty.

    • Jane Akre August 16, 2013 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Michele- You should out that particular lawyer so no one else chooses him or her. That is adding insult to injury if they really used those words. Incredible!

      • Michele August 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm - Reply

        the attorney did use those words exactly, husband and eldest daughter present for the conversation. i will do that for sure.

    • Bren September 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      What these procedures have done to the mind, body and soul of many women can’t be fixed with money. I want to feel like a woman again…….

      Oh WOW Michele…you gave me chills and goosebumps with what you said here above, that I copied/pasted. I feel 100% totally the same. God Bless you…and all of us that are going through this PAIN that so many don’t seem to understand or care. It has robbed us of our lives and womanhood COMPLETELY!!!

  6. InAz August 16, 2013 at 6:44 am - Reply

    I have mixed feelings regard to the verdict.

    Why did the jury award so little compared to the previous cases. I know they have no knowledge of previous mesh caees. Did the Judge rush the Plaintiff side and they were not allowed to show all of her evidence of medical bills and loss of income in addition to losing her body to be used as a science experiment, loss of qualitycof life, pain and suffering etc…

    Yes, it was great she won but the amount awarded is just some pocket change for Bard. I mean didn’t they spend $500k for just one of their expert witness? It sounds like Jury did not hear all of the facts and how devestating the mesh can ruin ones life and the victims loved ones lives as well. I don’t know what to think,was it the Judge’s fault for rushing the case or was the Plaintiff’s attorney inadequate prepared?

  7. Betty August 16, 2013 at 9:30 am - Reply

    I read the depositions that Jane has placed on this site. In one of the depositions she said she has continued to work through out this process. She took a 3 month short term disability from the mesh removal surgery with Dr. Miklos. So she was only suing for her medical costs and not for lost wages. I think it was also mentioned that she had about $150k or so in medical bills, I think even with the insurance companies share. I’d have to go back and read that specific again. In Linda Gross’ case she was suing for lost wages and she wasn’t able to sit or stand for more than 20 minutes. Linda Cisson sat throughout the whole deposition. I do think her husband was entitled to loss of consortium and somehow they didn’t prove that. I wonder sometimes if we’d make better lawyers? We know our cases better than anyone. And yes, I’d like my life back too. I figured that if the some 35,000 cases (including the other states, not just WV) only got $250k each that’d still be 7.5 billion and it’s going to be much higher than that. This should hurt their pockets – I think also they were suing for all court costs as well – Jane do you know how that works? Thanks again Jane for your wonderful job.

    • Jane Akre August 16, 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

      No They weren’t suing for court costs they were suing for defective design, a failure to warn and punitive damages… they got all three! They did not get loss of consortium for her husband for some reason. I was not in the courtroom and don’t know what was said. Just as a matter of procedure Bard will likely file an appeal, but I don’t know that for certain. It was done in the Linda Gross case and in the Christine Scott case. Only the portion that was going for her lost wages is taxable is my understanding. The lawyers get 30-40 percent generally, and they may add on expenses…Hopefully that is included in a 40 percent return. So she ends up with $1 million? It will be interesting to see about the court costs… generally each pays his own. In Florida the winner can seek court costs from the loser which has the net effect of discouraging any litigation, which was its intention. Be careful what you wish for when you side with the “tort reformers” they want to limit your access to court by blaming the “bad lawyers” and “ambulance chasers.” Most of these trial lawyers work very hard for years. Many deserve what they get and more in my opinion….

    • InAz August 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Bard will likely appeal to lower the dollar amount and the Plaintifff may settle just to get it over with, afterall dragging the case must be very stressful and sometimes it is easier to move on then keep figting while effecting your emotional physical health for the worse. Even if Bard does not apeal which would be surprisingly rare, the Plaintiff may get 50% after the fees and the cost. Usually settlements without a trial settle for much much less, which means the rest of the cases waiting to be settled may get very little. Part of the reason the Defendant would settle is to pay out less than potential award by the jury but if the jury is already handing out small judgement amounts then it is not a good sign for rest of the cases.

      Bard recalled their Kugal hernia meshes admitting design and quality failures on their part. Even so, I have read people receving settlement offers of less than 10k. I know some cases are more severe than others but even though the Kugal hernia mesh has killed more people , Bard ended up settleing it for average $18 thousand per victim. Of course some ended up with few hundred thousand and many just thousands. Either way, I feel they are getting away too easy. Of course many patients were not happy witj the settlements but their lawyer basically told themm take it or leave it because they were not going to get anymore. It just seems like the victims get screwed no matter what

  8. George August 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Great reporting Jane – thanks!

    I agree the compensation is low and is not enough to get the attention of the medical/medical torture device makers and installers. But the the win was in getting a jury to understand that the mesh is not designed or made of plastics

    that are safe fro human implants. This has gotten the medical/medical torture device makers and installers attention!


  9. Mary Pat August 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Just read this on the Bloomberg site: “Under Georgia law, 75 percent of Cisson’s $1.75 million punitive-damages award will be handed over to the state’s general fund. ” If this is true, that reduces the award to Cisson by $1,312,500. Is this correct?????

  10. jade August 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    What did the “good” Bard Dr. Ross say at his deposition….”…those sheep are expensive….you’ve got to house them, feed them etc…..” I guess that means experimenting on women would mean less money out of Bard’s pocketbook! The plain simple truth is Cisson and her husband bared their souls, private intimate stories and shared their heartaches to expose themselves to ridicule and humiliation by Cohen. Like she said “I didn’t have to say anything the whole trial….”. That’s about the amount of respect she held for Cisson and her suffering. I’m SURE Bard is hosting a Celebration Party for Cohen this weekend and it will be costing alot more than $2M.

  11. Mary blanks August 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    I am so thankful that she won! If these companies continue to lose , I pray soon it will come to national attention. We that have been so permanently injured will need financial help! We need nursing care some of us more than others. The damage to my life has already been done, but if we could recieve national news coverage I know it will stop women from walking into these doctors offices like lambs to the slaughter! That we become on own best advocates. Thank you Jane and Phil for your tireless work. I met with them last weekend. I was proud to be a part in the documentary they are producing. It is amazing toe how sympathetic Jane is to our situation , it’s almost as if she can feel our pain. Even more than my family!

  12. angela gibson March 8, 2014 at 6:56 am - Reply

    They are playing god’the mesh company don’t care.we are treated worse then the worst feral killers.we are punished an torchred’on a 24/7 basics’ in prisoned in our own body of pain,helpless like being dead hovering over our body watching our family need us not Abel to help ,but we can hear then ‘it is wrong on so many levels,in pain we go to get relief and they serve us up and medicate us with poison a crime they commite’we pay for .time to stop this inhumanity .an justice to be served .doctors to be educated on relating the damage an getting these so callednuclar devices out.so we can be human ,I beg rid us of the torched device,an stop the insult of such pocket change, for teses live u destroyed.I am mad ! It should be on them to the highest power u don’t have the right to destroy so many good demon,what if it were your mom?

  13. angela gibson March 8, 2014 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Wemon ,not demon up set in pain writing on tablet hope u get my message ‘in a lot of pain hard to focus god bless all wemon ‘I love u we r sisters I know the pain well going on two years of it I pray for a medical for us all

  14. Deanne in newfoundland canada July 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    I am a 38 year old woman and I’ve been living in hell since my mesh bladder sling 3 years ago, done through a surgery called tvt-o. I am looking for representation, see the hard part is, I live in newfoundland Canada and know of no lawyers here taking cases for this. Somebody plz help me find representation

    • Jane Akre July 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Deanne- can i pass you to a patient rep in Canada? I would need your permission to send your email…. they probably know docs and lawyers there. Thank you! You can message me at janeakre@meshnewsdesk.com

      • Rebecca October 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply

        My mom has been going through hell since hers in 2005, shes had 1 or 2 surgeries since.. The last sergery the mesh was intangled in her bowels and something else.. Not sure but think they removed the nesh and 2 feet of her bowels… she now has to go for another sergery too get anotger 2 too 5 feet remover due too another hernia…. Was wondering where I can find someobe too repersent her as well cuz of all the danage its done too her over the past 10 years..

  15. Helen Martin August 30, 2015 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    I also live in New Brunswick Canada .. I had tvt mesh for POP and bladder repair in 2007.. I have been suffering for over 2 years with no satisfaction from many doctor visits.. finally this week a gynecologist pulled a piece of mesh from my vaginal wall and told me there are many more there. I cried in relief .. finally someone believes me. My husband has been cut and damaged and I have had unbearable pain during sex. Now whatvdobi do

    • Jane Akre August 31, 2015 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Wow Helen….. do you feel comfortable with this doc to do more removal if necessary?

  16. JULIA April 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    HELP….I also had this mesh implanted in 2007…I have lost my husband, home, friends, job… all quality of life. Advised not to bother having it removed due to the fact it’s impossible to do so even after multiple surgeries it’s causing constant excruciating pain. I am in a state of severe depression, bladder /bowel dysfunction, inability to go anywhere because of the uncertainty of whether accidents will happen. My children have lost their fun loving, happy mother.In 2011 after seeing a commercial at 3 in the morning while suffering severe abdominal pain I reached out the law firm announcing the recall.My dr. Never bothered mentioning it to me. Last week I was advised the class action went to a mass tort and I would be awarded 90000. After fees basically end up with around 5. I’m am appalled these companies are getting away with this. This amount of money won’t even buy me a car much less any sort of life.. My life is barely worth living anymore and not sure how long I can endure the pain I have 24/7 without risking becoming addicted to pain meds. I would appreciate advice regarding accepting this offer as I am worried about my future. Thank you

    • Jane Akre April 10, 2018 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Julia- health wise I’d like you to see a specialist to make sure of your options, Get a second and even a third opinion from a mesh expert. Let me know where you are living and I can send you a list.
      janeakre@meshnewsdesk.com Make sure you have a full accounting of your “expenses” and what you are being charged for….

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