Following a 31-day trial in New Jersey Superior Court, the Plaintiff in a vaginal mesh lawsuit against Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was awarded $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages. Linda Gross, a 47-year-old South Dakota resident, alleged that she suffered debilitating injury after using Prolift, Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh product. As part of her testimony, Gross said that she endured multiple surgeries to remove the mesh. The complications left her unable to sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and she now suffers from chronic pain in her legs and pelvis.
The jury in the case based Gross’ damage awards (totaling $11.1 million) on its findings that:
(1) Ethicon failed to provide adequate warnings to Gross regarding the medical complications associated with mesh implantation surgery; and
(2) Prolift’s instructions for use and marketing materials misrepresented the product’s risks.
Gross’ counsel used videotapes of depositions and email records from Ethicon executives as evidence that the company repeatedly refused to properly communicate with at least one doctor who had concerns about the device and instead opted to rush the release of Prolift in order to beat a competitor to market.
The case is the first of more than 2,000 filed against Ethicon in New Jersey Superior Court. An additional 3,988 cases have been consolidated in the southern district of West Virginia.