Good news for the thousands of women injured by pelvic mesh. The first mesh verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon stands. Federal judge Joseph Goodwin has denied J&J and Ethicon attorneys’ motions to overturn the unanimous $3.27 million verdict awarded to an Illinois woman Sept. 5, 2014 in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) court in West Virginia.
Update: The verdict is on appeal; so no recovery has been made despite the verdict.
J&J, Ethicon face 26,000 Mesh Claims
In his 31-page response to the motions by J&J and Ethicon, Judge Goodwin acknowledged that he is handling seven MDLs in Charleston, totaling more than 70,000 cases. J&J cases comprise by far the largest MDL court; some 26,000 cases are filed against J&J and Ethicon.
Court Evidence Revisited
Judge Goodwin revisits the evidence in his response to Ethicon: “Since removal of the sling, Mrs. Huskey continues to have constant pelvic and vaginal pain that is exacerbated by physical activity. (She) has also experienced recurrence of SUI, pain in her bladder, dyspareunia, and sacroiliac joint pain. Attributing these injuries to the TVT-O, Mrs. Huskey and her husband filed suit against Ethicon on Sept. 6, 2012.”
The judge wrote that, “I decline to disturb the jury’s verdict in this case because, as explained below, a reasonable jury could find in favor of the plaintiffs on each of their claims.”
Gold Standard vs. Reality
The judge acknowledged that Ethicon offered evidence the TVT-O is considered the “gold standard” for stress urinary incontinence, “but the plaintiffs also produced significant evidence on the TVT-O’s risks,” including its propensity to “degrade, shrink and contract, deform, and result in chronic foreign body reaction and chronic inflammation.” Experts for the plaintiff further explained that these problems can’t always be resolved by removing the mesh because there can be “scarring, nerve irritation, and residual mesh left in various areas that you can’t get out, such as in muscle.”
Mesh Risks outweigh Benefits
Judge Goodwin also acknowledged in his response to Ethicon that Dr. Rosenzweig concluded that, in his opinion, the TVT-O’s “risks outweigh its benefits.” Dr. Rosenzweig also testified, and the judge acknowledged the doctor’s testimony that “the insertion of mesh near the obturator space is “inappropriate and especially concerning due to nerves and muscles in that area that can be irritated by the foreign body reaction.”