A Texas woman who won the first jury judgment against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon over a defective mesh sling product has died. Linda Batiste, 65, bravely beat J&J last year, but lost her battle with cancer on August 8 in Garland, Texas.
A Louisiana native, Ms. Batiste was awarded $1.2 million by a Dallas jury on April 3, 2014. Walking slowly with a cane and unable to sit for extended periods, she attended nearly all of her grueling three-week trial. The verdict has been appealed by defense; so no recovery was made then or to date (Sept. 2015) despite the verdict.
A former registered nurse, Ms. Batiste had been implanted with a plastic mesh TVT-O sling – made by J&J’s Ethicon division – to treat stress urinary incontinence. The implant failed to cure her incontinence and caused her debilitating pain. Surgeons removed as much of it as they could, but subsequent surgeries could not remove the defective plastic sling entirely nor the constant pain that it caused.
Jurors decided the TVT-O sling was defective in design, though they rejected Ms. Batiste’s claim that Ethicon failed to provide proper warnings about the health risks, hence declining punitive damages. Since Ms. Batiste’s trial, another jury also concluded that Ethicon’s TVT-O mesh sling is defective in design. The product nevertheless remains on the market.
Ms. Batiste never saw a dime of her $1.2 million jury verdict, as Johnson & Johnson does what it always does in such cases. It refused to honor the verdict and then appealed the case. A judge later upheld the verdict, but J&J continues to appeal.