On March 5, 2015, a California jury returned a $5.7 million verdict against Ethicon, Inc., which is a Johnson & Johnson company, in a transvaginal mesh lawsuit filed by a woman who was implanted with Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh device in 2011 to treat her stress urinary incontinence. The plaintiff alleged that the mesh was defectively designed and that Ethicon, which manufactured the mesh used in the plaintiff’s surgery, failed to adequately warn her doctors regarding the risks associated with its mesh product.
As a result, the woman claimed that she had to undergo additional surgery within one year to remove portions of the mesh because the mesh had eroded and formed scar tissue, and she was caused to suffer chronic and debilitating pelvic pain and dyspareunia (painful intercourse). She further alleged that she continued to have incontinence, which worsened after the mesh was implanted in her.
The jury trial began on January 26, 2015 before a 12-member California jury. The jury deliberated more than three days after the conclusion of trial testimony and evidence, after which the jury awarded the plaintiff and her husband $700,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
The woman’s mesh claim trial was the first involving Ethicon’s TVT Abbrevo mini-sling device. However, there are more than 25,000 claims filed in both state and federal courts in the United States against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson involving transvaginal mesh devices. The woman’s successful jury verdict was the fourth against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson.
Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson have indicated that they will appeal the California verdict against them, alleging that the trial evidence showed that the TVT Abbrevo mesh device was properly designed, and that they acted in an appropriate and responsible manner in designing, developing, and marketing the transvaginal mesh device.
Source Perry, et al. v. Luu, et al., Case No. 5-1500-CV-279123 (Cal. Superior Ct., Kern County).
Ethicon’s Abbrevo mini-sling is made of polypropylene. The jury in the California case was shown the Material Safety Data Sheet for raw polypropylene resin that warns that it is not intended to be used in manufacturing implantable medical devices. Despite the warning, polypropylene resin was used in the Abbrevo mesh and other pelvic mesh devices.
The problem with using polypropylene mesh is that it degrades over time and erodes into vaginal tissue. The scar tissue shrinks and in doing so forms painful bands that result in chronic pelvic pain and dyspareunia.
Ethicon’s Abbrevo mini-sling, which is made from Ethicon’s Prolene mesh, remains on the market while Ethicon’s prolapse mesh (Prolift and TVT Secur) were removed from the market almost three years ago.
If you or a family member were implanted with transvaginal mesh or other surgical mesh and suffered complications, injuries, or chronic pain afterwards, you should find a surgical mesh claim lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your mesh claim for you and represent you in a claim against the manufacturer, distributor, and/or supplier of the mesh, if appropriate.
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