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From Products Liability Law Daily, March 12, 2018

Jury returns $35M verdict in transvaginal mesh case

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

A federal jury in Indiana has awarded a northwest Indiana couple $35 million in compensation for injuries sustained by the wife from Johnson & Johnson’s Prolift transvaginal mesh. According to a press release issued by one of the law firms representing the couple, Wexler Wallace LLP, after a nine-day trial, the nine-member jury found that Johnson & Johnson and its subdivision, Ethicon, negligently designed the Prolift device and failed to adequately warn of the product’s risks (Kaiser v. Johnson & Johnson, March 9, 2018).

The patient, who was implanted with a Prolift mesh device to treat her pelvic organ prolapse, brought design defect claims against the product’s manufacturer, Ethicon Inc. According to the complaint, the Prolift device caused the patient to experience significant mental and physical pain and suffering, permanent injury, financial or economic loss, including, but not limited to, obligations for medical services and expenses, and impaired physical relations with her husband. She claimed that the manufacturer was negligent in failing to use reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, marketing, labeling, packaging, and selling the Prolift device.

The jury awarded $10 million for the couple’s injuries and $25 million in punitive damages against the manufacturer for willful and wanton disregard for patient safety. Plaintiff’s attorney Edward A. Wallace, of Wexler Wallace LLP, expressed optimism that the verdict would cause manufacturers to think twice before putting a medical device on the market without proper clinical data and adequate warnings. Jeff Kuntz, of Wagstaff & Cartmell, credited the jury for seeing past the corporate influence and awarding compensation to a victim injured by a product that was not properly studied.

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