November 14, 2014 / 12:10 AM / 5 years ago

Boston Scientific ordered to pay $26.7 million over mesh devices

MIAMI/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boston Scientific Corp was ordered Thursday to pay four women a total of $26.7 million after it was found liable for selling faulty transvaginal mesh devices, following one of the first federal trials resulting from thousands of lawsuits over the devices.

After deliberating for a few hours, a Miami federal court jury found Boston Scientific liable following an eight-day trial. Plaintiffs said they suffered injuries such as pain, bleeding and infection as a result of the company’s Pinnacle device, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

The company was ordered to pay the women $26.7 million in compensatory damages, between $6.5 million and $6.7 million each. It will not face additional punitive damages.

Boston Scientific is facing 14,000 federal lawsuits over its mesh devices. It is one of seven companies - including Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Inc and C.R. Bard - that have been hit with lawsuits over the products. Endo International Plc said in September it had set aside $1.6 billion to settle “substantially all” the cases against it and its American Medical Systems unit.

During the Miami trial, plaintiffs’ lawyers accused Boston Scientific of failing to perform critical safety studies in its rush to bring the device to market. The company denied it had done anything wrong and said each woman and her doctor had been aware of the risks.

One plaintiff, Amal Eghnayem, said the verdict was fair. Jim Perdue, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said, “this company needs to understand that jurors will understand what (it) did, and will not hesitate to award the damages necessary.”

A representative for Boston Scientific, Kelly Leadem, said the company disagreed with the verdict and believed it had strong grounds to challenge in post-trial motions and on appeal.

Boston Scientific previously faced three trials in state court over the mesh, resulting in two wins for the company and one $73 million loss, later reduced to $34 million.

Boston Scientific is currently in another federal trial in West Virginia involving claims from four women implanted with the company’s Obtryx device for stress urinary incontinence.

The Miami and West Virginia cases are both “bellwether,” or test, trials, that will help both sides assess the claims’ value.

Reporting by Jessica Dye in New York and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Editing by Chris Reese, Alexia Garamfalvi, Bernard Orr and Dan Grebler

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