PHILADELPHIA – Just weeks after a Philadelphia jury reached a $120 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon, Inc. and in favor of a plaintiff who claimed she suffered at the hands of a defectively-designed pelvic mesh device, another jury in a similar action has handed down a verdict of $80 million.
The verdict, comprised of $30 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages, is the eighth result delivered in favor of pelvic mesh plaintiffs in Philadelphia courts and it brings the total amount of damages awarded to them to well over $340 million.
Thomas Kline of Kline & Specter, a member of counsel for plaintiffs Patricia and George Mesigian, offered comment on the trial result.
“In this largest transvaginal compensatory jury verdict to date, this jury resoundingly found that Johnson & Johnson terribly injured another one of thousands of women implanted with its defective transvaginal mesh device, recognizing not only the severity of the injury but the abhorrence of the conduct,” Kline stated.
An Ethicon spokeswoman stated while the company “respects the legal process," in its view, the jury did not have the opportunity to hear all the evidence and will appeal the verdict.
“While Ethicon empathizes with women who experience medical complications, this verdict and the damages awarded are inconsistent with the science and Ethicon’s actions. We believe the evidence showed Ethicon’s PROLIFT device was properly designed and that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the product,” Mindy Tinsley said.
“The jury was not permitted to hear critical evidence related to the FDA’s review and classification of these devices, which we believe significantly influenced the verdict and punitive award in this case. We respect the legal process, but we want to reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product and Ethicon will appeal this verdict.”
Mesigian, a 75 year-old Media resident, suffered organ prolapse more than a decade ago and had the pelvic mesh device implanted in 2008 to treat that condition – but her counsel said the device failed and left her with chronic inflammation, infections, and pain during sexual intercourse, even after subsequent surgeries attempted to remedy those after-effects.
Last month, the Food & Drug Administration ordered pelvic mesh product manufacturers to immediately cease sales of their products, as there was no “reasonable assurance” that they were safe.
“In order for these mesh devices to stay on the market, we determined that we needed evidence that they worked better than surgery without the use of mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse. That evidence was lacking in these premarket applications, and we couldn’t assure women that these devices were safe and effective long term,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
“Patient safety is our highest priority, and women must have access to safe medical devices that provide relief from symptoms and better management of their medical conditions. The FDA has committed to taking forceful new actions to enhance device safety and encourage innovations that lead to safer medical devices, so that patients have access to safe and effective medical devices and the information they need to make informed decisions about their care.”
In a separate case resolved in April, a jury found in favor of Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon in a similar pelvic mesh trial.
More than 80 similar cases are currently being litigated in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas’ Complex Litigation Center.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 140200399
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org