Jury Awards $3.35 Million in Vaginal Mesh Case Against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
2/26/2013 8:47:05 AM
A jury on Monday said Johnson & Johnson should pay a South Dakota woman $3.35 million for failing to adequately warn her doctor of the potential dangers of a vaginal mesh implant made by the company's Ethicon subsidiary, and for misrepresenting the product in brochures. It was the first verdict among some 1,800 vaginal mesh cases pending in New Jersey against Ethicon and J&J and could have an impact on thousands of lawsuits against other manufacturers of similar products. The lawsuit, in state Superior Court in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was brought by Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, South Dakota, in November 2008. It alleged that the Gyncare Prolift vaginal mesh was not safe and that J&J and Ethicon were liable, among other things, for "their defective design, manufacture, warnings and instructions." The Ethicon product, before being taken off the U.S. market last year, was used to treat pelvic organ collapse, a condition for which the plaintiff, a nurse, was treated in November 2008. That condition occurs when tissue that holds the pelvic organs in place is weak or stretched and bulges into the vagina. There are different types of this prolapse condition, which usually occurs after menopause, childbirth or a hysterectomy. The vaginal mesh was also used by many doctors to treat a severe form of urinary incontinence, called stress incontinence. Gross, a nurse, filed her lawsuit after having surgery in 2006 to install a Gyncare Prolift for pelvic prolapse. She alleged the surgery led to a variety of problems, including mesh erosion, scar tissue, inflammation and "neurologic compromise to ... structures and tissue."