That is the amount a Delaware jury today awarded to mesh-injured woman Deborah Barba. The amount includes $25 million in compensatory and $75 million in punitive damages, established to send a message to the company.
The 51-year-old from Newark, Delaware, sued manufacturer Boston Scientific for her permanent and serious injuries caused by the company’s Advantage Fit and Pinnacle transvaginal meshes. She was implanted in 2009 and has suffered significant complications and endured two surgeries that did not fully remove the devices.
“While we are extremely pleased with this verdict and the relief we hope it will bring to the Barbas for Deborah’s unspeakable suffering, we also hope Boston Scientific and other mesh manufacturers take note of this verdict and resolve all pending cases swiftly. Deborah’s case will hopefully bring more awareness of mesh issues, however, no woman and her loved ones should have to endure the stress of going to trial and baring their souls publicly to achieve justice,” said Barba’s attorney Fidelma Fitzpatrick of the Motley Rice law firm.
The jury found Boston Scientific was negligent in its design and manufacture of the Pinnacle and Advantage Fit devices and that the warnings were insufficient to unsuspecting doctors and their patients.
“I am thankful for the jury’s verdict and hope my story can help other women who are suffering from mesh complications to receive the resolution they deserve,” said Deborah Barba. “While difficult to share, I hope my case demonstrates to all mesh manufacturers the dangers of their products and the justice they owe victims.”
The case is Deborah Barba v. Boston Scientific Corporation, Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County, C.A. No. N11C-08-050 MMJ.
Boston Scientific has seen some of the highest jury awards to plaintiffs in its pelvic mesh cases, most notably, Martha Salazar who was awarded $73 million in a Dallas courtroom last September. That amount was later reduced under Texas caps on jury awards. Last November, two multi-plaintiff cases resulted in $18.5 and $26.7 million jury awards against Boston Scientific with a finding the mesh products were defectively designed.
Your editor spoke with Fidelma Fitzpatrick within the hour of the verdict. Also a call was placed at 1:45 pm to Boston Scientific for its comment, with no response as of this evening. Bloomberg reports Boston Scientific denies its product caused her injuries and plans an appeal. Also the verdict came down in Delaware the most corporate-friendly state as it’s the home of more than half of publicly traded companies. MND has requested another response from BSX this evening.
According to Fitzpatrick, this is the first time a retropubic sling has been found defective! That is signifigant because most trials have focused on larger meshes used for POP repair, ie mesh kits, or transvaginal mesh placed through the obturator space.
The trial began May 11 with jury deliberations beginning Tuesday. The jury of 12 was made up of five African-Americans and had slightly more men than women. Their decision was unanimous.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) was one piece of compelling evidence shown to the jury. The MSDS is supplied by the polypropylene resin maker, in this case Phillips Sumika and goes to anyone who buys the raw material. It clearly states the resin is not to be used to make implantable medical devices. Boston Scientific proceeded anyway to do just that.
Fitzpatrick says the company began monitoring complains with the Pinnacle in January of 2008. Earlier studies had indicated what complication rate to expect, but when complications came into the company at a rate six times higher than predicted, instead of recalling the product, sending a warning letter to doctors or to the FDA, the company did nothing.
Boston tried to blame Deborah Barba and blame the implanting surgeon, everyone but accepting any blame themselves, says Fitzpatrick who continues, “We are thrilled for Ms. Barba. She was so strong and courageous going through this. We are honored she trusted us to tell her story we hope, and Debbie hopes, this will make a difference for all women out there. She feels a lot of kinship and compassion for their suffering.”
Ms. Barba’s complications continue, the result of scar tissue that remains behind after an unsuccessful explant surgery.
Fitzpatrick worked alongside Fred Thompson of Motley Rice and co-counsel, Phil Edwards of Murphy and London, a law firm in Delaware. #
Sanchez v. Boston Scientific Settles Before Closing Arguments, May 11, 2015
Boston Scientific Offers Settlement to 3,000 Mesh-Injured Women, MND, April 28, 2015
$18.5 Million Loss in November Trial of Four plaintiffs, MND November 20, 2014
Jury Awards $26.7 Million to Four Women Injured by Boston Scientific Meshes, MND November 11, 2014
Salazar $73 Million Jury Award Slashed in Half Due to Tort Reform, MND, October 2014