| Sept 5
Sept 5 A federal jury in West Virginia on Friday
awarded a woman $3.27 million in one of 33,000 lawsuits that
accuse Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Inc unit of selling
defective transvaginal mesh devices.
Following a nearly two-week trial, jurors found Ethicon
liable for selling faulty devices and failing to warn patients
and their doctors that users were at risk from side effects that
include pain, bleeding and infection.
It was the second case to go to trial among thousands that
have been consolidated in West Virginia federal court, after the
first ended in February with a win for Ethicon. The company had
previously been hit with an $11 million verdict in a mesh trial
in New Jersey state court last year, and a $1.2 million verdict
following a trial in Texas state court in April.
The plaintiff, Jo Huskey, was 52 when she was implanted with
a Gynecare TVT Obturator, or TVT-O, transvaginal mesh device in
2011 to treat stress urinary incontinence, according to her
lawyer, Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice. Huskey and her
husband sued the next year, claiming problems with the device
led to serious side effects including pelvic pain.
Fitzpatrick said the Huskeys were thrilled with the verdict.
"I think it sends a very clear message to Ethicon that these
products and these cases are extremely serious," she said.
"These women are very seriously injured from these products."
A spokesman for Ethicon, Matthew Johnson, said the company
was disappointed with the verdict and intends to appeal.
"Ethicon's TVT-O midurethral sling was properly designed, and
Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research,
development and marketing of the product," he said in a
While the Huskey verdict is not binding on thousands of
other Ethicon mesh cases, it will help both sides assess the
strengths and weaknesses of the litigation as a whole as they
decide whether to press forward with more trials or consider a
Ethicon is among seven companies facing a wave of litigation
over mesh devices. Other defendants include C.R. Bard
Inc and Boston Scientific Corp. Boston Scientific
recently won the first two mesh cases to go to trial against it
in Massachusetts state court. Last year, C.R. Bard was hit with
a $2 million verdict in the first mesh trial in West Virginia
In April, Endo International's American Medical Systems
subsidiary became the first major manufacturer to
largely bow out of mesh litigation, agreeing to pay $830 million
to resolve thousands of these cases.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said earlier this year
that it was considering proposals to tighten safety standards
for transvaginal mesh devices used to treat pelvic organ
prolapse. If finalized, the proposals would require
manufacturers to submit data proving the devices' safety and
effectiveness before allowing them to be sold.
The case is Huskey v. Ethicon, U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of West Virginia, No. 12-5201.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye in New York; Editing by Alexia
Garamfalvi, Bernard Orr)