A NJ jury reached a verdict in favor of a 47-year-old South Dakota woman today for $3.35 million for compensatory damages. The court is deciding now whether to go into the punitives phase in the case.
Linda Gross sued Johnson & Johnson after she required 18 revision surgeries to repair damage wrought by J& J transvaginal mesh which was implanted in her in 2006 to repair pelvic organ prolapse. Her trial against NJ-based J & J lasted nearly a month, beginning Jan. 10 in Superior Court in Atlantic City. The jury deliberated for three weeks before reaching its verdict.
Update: The verdict is on appeal; so no recovery has been made despite the verdict.
Failure to Warn
The lawsuit concerned whether J&J’s Ethicon unit adequately warned Ms. Gross of the device’s risks. Johnson & Johnson is one of several companies that produce the synthetic devices to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) – which can occur after pregnancy. The companies face lawsuits by thousands of women who blame them for organ perforation, pain, scarring and nerve damage.
Gross’ attorneys wrote in court papers: “She can no longer sit comfortably for more than a few minutes without having to either stand up or lay down to try to reduce the level of pain. She requires various daily medications to treat her severe chronic pain.”
Gynecare Prolift recalled
Five months ago, J & J stopped selling four different mesh devices in the U.S., including the Gynecare Prolift that Ms. Gross had implanted in July 2006.
“Given the extent of Ms. Gross’ lifelong injuries, the verdict seems appropriate,” said Matthews & Associates’ David Matthews, who represents hundreds of other victims of transvaginal mesh. Matthews attended court in NJ to hear the opening arguments, then monitored the trial with his firm via live video feed.
“Defense will likely appeal the verdict,” Matthews added, “and it’s still difficult to determine what impact this verdict will have on other mesh cases for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and sling cases for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). But it would appear to bode well for other mesh cases in which a woman was injured by this synthetic material.”
Matthews is scheduled to try a similar type of case, against American Medical Systems in California in May 2013. But unlike the NJ case, the California case concerns a somewhat different product: the AMS Monarc sling, which is used for stress urinary incontinence (SUI).