A New Jersey jury has awarded a woman $3.5 million in the first verdict of more than 2,100 lawsuits over a vaginal mesh implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, Bloomberg reports.
Linda Gross of South Dakota, the 47-year-old plaintiff, said she needed 18 operations after receiving the device, and had to quit her nursing job because of the chronic pain that it caused her.
Such complaints are rampant about the vaginal mesh devices, implanted to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which weakened muscles can no longer adequately support the pelvic organs. Common complaints include the devices becoming exposed through the vaginal skin, causing pain and infection.
Gross’s lawyer said the device also tends to harden in women’s bodies, making it difficult to remove.
The jury agreed with her lawyer’s allegations that Ethicon knew about the problems with the implant, yet failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about the risks.
Bloomberg reports that Gross was seeking $3.38 million for lost earnings and past and future medical expenses, as well as unspecified damages for pain and suffering.
The story says Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee is now considering whether to allow Gross’s attorneys to pursue punitive damages against the company. If she decides that’s appropriate, the same jury would hear evidence and decide whether to award such damages.
Under New Jersey’s state cap, the punitive damages in this case would be a maximum of $16.75 million.
If you have a vaginal mesh implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
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