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$11.1M Ethicon Vaginal Mesh Settlement Upheld on Appeal

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Santa Clara, CAAn $11.1 million verdict in a Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaginal mesh lawsuit has been upheld in appeals. It is the first bellwether trial alleging personal injury from Gynecare pelvic mesh implants made by J&J’s subsidiary Ethicon Inc.

The New Jersey appellate court stated it could see no reason to overturn the award. In the original trial, the jury awarded $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages to the plaintiff Linda Gross and her husband Jeffrey.

"The jury was presented with sufficient evidence by which it could reasonably conclude that the lack of adequate warning was a proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries," said Judges Clarkson Fisher Jr., Marianne Espinosa and Garry Rothstadt in an unpublished opinion.

According to the lawsuit, Gross alleged she experienced serious personal injuries as a result of the mesh implant. Consequently, she underwent a further 20 surgeries attempting to repair damage done by the vaginal mesh.

During her trial Gross testified that had she been aware in advance of the potential dangers associated with the pelvic mesh, she would not have agreed to have the implant. Further, she claimed Ethicon was aware the of the problems with the product.

The judges agreed, stating in their decision that there was "substantial evidence" showing Ethicon had knowledge of the potential dangers of the implants but failed to warn patients of those dangers in its marketing materials.

"The evidence was sufficient to allow the jury to find an adequate warning would have prevented plaintiff's injuries," the judges said.

As of mid-December, 2014, court records indicated more than 67,500 claims had been filed against several transvaginal mesh manufacturers, including Ethicon. Gynecare pelvic mesh lawsuits allege that the mesh causes soft tissue injury, tissue erosion, bleeding, pain and infection. Plaintiffs also reported that pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence conditions worsened after being implanted with the mesh. Many women have undergone surgery to have the mesh removed.


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