BY: Jason J. Thompson | IN: Class Action & Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury
Juries in Texas and West Virginia handed down two verdicts this week to individuals who were injured by transvaginal mesh devices that had been used to treat their stress urinary incontinence.
On September 5, a West Virginia jury awarded an Illinois woman $3.27 million for injuries she sustained as a result of the implementation of Ethicon’s Gynecare TVT Obturator (TVT-O) sling. Because of pain and discomfort during intercourse, she was forced to undergo surgery again within a year to remove the device.
The jury found Ethicon liable based on its failure to warn and defective designs. As a result the company must compensate the plaintiff Jo Huskey, a 52-year-old- assistant physical therapist, for her pain and suffering and past medical expenses. In addition, her husband was awarded damages for loss of consortium.
The trial, which lasted nearly two weeks, was the second against Ethicon in the multi-district litigation. The first ended when U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin found that the plaintiff presented no evidence to support a defective design claim and effectively dismissed the case.
“Ethicon was not careful. They have to be a reasonably careful company. But we submitted evidence to you that they rushed to market,” said Ed Wallace of Wexler and Wallace, one of the lead attorneys on the case. “There is nothing wrong with competing and getting to the market quickly, but put patient safety first,” he added. Sommers Schwartz serves as co-counsel in a number of its cases with Wallace and his firm.
On September 8, 2014, a Dallas jury awarded a remarkable $73 million to a woman who was severely injured by Boston Scientific’s Obtryx Transobturator Mid-Urethral Sling System. The awarded consisted of $23 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
Martha Salazar received the implant in January 2011 and began experiencing complications including mesh erosion, chronic pain, painful intercourse, and nerve damage within just a few months. She was forced to undergo four removal surgeries and is scheduled for more in the future.
Prior to the implant, Salazar worked successfully managing various complexes in the Dallas metropolitan area. While she was previously in line for a promotion, according to her employer, her medical issues eventually forced her to stop working and she ultimately lost her job.
During the 10 day trial, the jury considered plaintiff’s claims of failure to warn, defective design, pain and suffering and past medical expenses.
Litigation and settlement negotiations in the seven multidistrict cases in front of Judge Goodwin continue.
If you or someone you care about has been harmed as the result of a vaginal mesh implant or other medical device, we urge you to contact an attorney in Sommers Schwartz’ Personal Injury Litigation Group today – we’re here to help.
View all posts byJason J. Thompson
Jason Thompson is a nationally board certified trial attorney and co-chairs Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Department. He has a formidable breadth of litigation experience, including class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL), and practices nationwide in both state and federal courts.