Product News and Recalls

Mesh jury awards $11.1m, says company failed to warn of risks

Members of a New Jersey jury that awarded a total of $11.1 million to a woman who received a vaginal mesh implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary did not find a design defect, according to a lawyer for the plaintiff. But they did rule that the company failed to warn the plaintiff’s doctor of the hazards, and that patient brochures fraudulently misrepresented the procedure.

A story on the decision in Reuters says the plaintiff, a 47-year-old woman from South Dakota, was awarded $7.76 million in punitive damages from the company. The remaining $3.35 million is for compensation of medical expenses.

The plaintiff in the case testified that she had to undergo 18 operations, and still suffered chronic pain that forced her to give up her career as a nurse.

Vaginal mesh implants are supposed to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Although the New Jersey jury didn’t find a design defect, complaints about similarly designed devices are widespread. Thousands of patients who received them complain about health problems including chronic pain, organ perforation and infection.

About 11,000 other claims are pending against several other vaginal mesh manufacturers in a federal case, and Johnson & Johnson faces 1,800 more mesh lawsuits in New Jersey alone.

According to Reuters, Morningstar analyst Damien Conover said the litigation probably doesn’t represent a big financial risk for J&J.

“From an investment standpoint, I don’t think it’s going to be too damaging,” Conover said.

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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