Jury Awards South Dakota Woman $3.35M in Transvaginal Mesh VerdictFeb 25, 2013
Jurors in New Jersey have awarded a woman $3.35 million in compensatory damages in the first trial involving an allegedly defective transvaginal mesh surgical device, the Gynecare Prolift.
According to Bloomberg, jurors will now consider punitive damages against the division of Johnson & Johnson after delivering a mixed verdict earlier this week. Jurors determined that J&J did not make fraudulent claims or defectively design the Gynecare Prolift transvaginal but that it was responsible for failing to warn the surgeon of a South Dakota woman who received the device in a procedure several years ago.
The Gynecare Prolift device is one of many transvaginal mesh products available to women who are seeking treatment for a common condition suffered by millions, especially those who’ve endured childbirth in their lifetime, stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Both conditions are caused by a weakening of the pelvic muscles.
After agreeing to have the Gynecare Prolift device implanted, the South Dakota woman said during the trial that she suffered severe pain and discomfort and underwent a total of 18 surgical procedures to correct and remove the transvaginal mesh. She filed a lawsuit alongside her husband, who was also awarded some of the compensatory damages for the effects this ordeal has had on their marriage.
Women who’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh devices - and there have been thousands - have suffered erosion of the mesh through the vaginal wall and through the skin. Other risks involved with defective transvaginal mesh devices are severe bleeding, infection, and a reduction in normal daily functions. Some women who’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh devices complain that they’re unable to sit or stand in one place at a time and have suffered decreased libido because of pain the device causes during intercourse.
The jury in this case deliberated for five days before awarding the South Dakota woman and her husband the award in excess of $3 million. Bloomberg detailed the award breakdown: $1.1 million for pain and suffering; $180,000 for lost wages; $500,000 for future lost wages; $385,000 for past medical treatment; $1 million for future medical treatment; and $180,000 to the spouse for loss of companionship and conjugal affections.
Punitive damages will now be considered though jurors will not be made aware of a state cap on this amount. New Jersey rules dictate that punitive damages can not exceed five times the amount of compensatory damages, capping the potential award at $16.75 million.
This is the first trial to reach a jury decision involving a victim of the Gynecare Prolift or any other transvaginal mesh device. Johnson & Johnson has since removed this product from the market as the Food and Drug Administration has ordered all makers of transvaginal mesh products to produce post-market safety data that proves they are safe and effective treatments of these common conditions suffered by women.