Transvaginal mesh lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that the first lawsuit involving Johnson & Johnson’s Gynecare Prolift product recently reached a compensatory damages verdict of $3.35 million. The jury will now consider a punitive damages award, which may reach as high as $16.75 million.
An Atlantic City, New Jersey, jury found that Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, the manufacturer of Gynecare, failed to warn the plaintiff about the risks associated with the vaginal mesh implant and deceptively misled her. The plaintiff is Linda Gross, a 47-year-old nurse from South Dakota, who, along with her husband, sued the company after suffering 18 operations and constant pain from the device.
After five days of deliberations, the jury awarded the couple $1.1 million for pain and suffering, $680,000 for past and future lost wages, another $180,000 for loss of consortium, and more than $1.3 million for past and future medical treatment. A Superior Court judge ruled that jurors can now determine punitive damages, which are amounts intended to punish the defendants for reckless disregard.
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In 2010 alone, doctors implanted over 70,000 transvaginal mesh products in American women. Unfortunately, there have been thousands of reports of organ damage and serious complications associated with these products, which are sold by more than 30 manufacturers. More than 2,000 women have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson alone.
In this New Jersey trial, company documents and e-mails revealed that Ethicon was completely aware that the transvaginal mesh would cause extensive pain and harm in women. Lawyers argued that Ethicon was aware the device could become exposed through the vaginal skin and that it could harden in women’s bodies, making it difficult for surgeons to remove.
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This mesh hardening is exactly what happened to Gross, which subsequently led to 18 painful operations, chronic pain, and other health problems. Gross testified that her life changed dramatically since the Prolift implantation – she can no longer sit comfortably and is prescribed to 20 different medications for her pelvic problems. She has had more than 400 doctor and physical therapist visits for treatments, therapy, and traumatic exams.
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When she was initially implanted, in 2006, she was told there were very few risks, and that it could be removed easily if need be. Like thousands of other misled women, had she known of the reality of this product, she never would have chosen the Prolift. The Gynecare Prolift is made from polypropylene mesh, and was taken off markets in August 2012 along with four other Johnson & Johnson mesh products.
In October 2012, California’s attorney general reached out to Johnson & Johnson about a probe regarding the company’s marketing of the mesh products. The investigation is currently underway in 42 states. Earlier that year, the FDA told Johnson & Johnson, along with over 30 other manufacturers, that they had to conduct a study regarding the rates of organ damage and other complications linked to the mesh implants.
Other liable manufacturers include Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems, and C.R. Bard. The lawsuits involving C.R. Bard’s product are expected to begin on June 24, 2013. This means victims of this company’s defective product still have time to file claims.
Although the FDA has issued several safety warnings about the meshes, no recalls have yet been initiated. In 2007, the FDA ordered Ethicon to take its Gynecare Prolift off the market while the agency investigated whether or not it was safe and effective. Ethicon, however, blatantly disregarded this request and continued selling the product, to the demise of its customers. We are currently accepting claims involving transvaginal mesh injuries, and evaluations are free of charge.
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