In the first jury verdict to rule on whether Johnson & Johnson (J&J)’s Ethicon unit failed to properly warn of the risks of the vaginal mesh implant, Linda Gross, a 47 year-old South Dakota nurse, today was awarded $3.35 million after having required eighteen (18) surgeries to correct problems experienced after a transvaginal mesh implant.
In the verdict handed down in Atlantic City, New Jersey, jurors ruled that the company failed to warn the implanting surgeon of the very serious complications that can arise after a transvaginal mesh implant using Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift.
Medical device attorney William M. Audet of Audet and Partners, LLP hailed the verdict:
"The jury verdict sends a strong signal to the defendants in these cases that our clients are the real victims and have suffered serious injuries. My firm continues to be contacted by women throughout the United States and we will continue to fight for their rights. We continue to investigate and prosecute cases on behalf of women who have been implanted with implants manufactured by defendants including Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, and Boston Scientific."
Judge Carol Higbee, presiding over the trial, is considering whether to allow Plaintiffs’s attorneys to pursue punitive damages, which are intended to punish the company. If so, the same jury would hear evidence and decide whether to award such damages. New Jersey caps punitive damages at five times compensatory damages, which in this case would be $16.75 million. Jurors delivered their verdict on the fifth day of deliberations. Ms. Gross had sought $3.38 million for lost earnings and past and future medical expenses. She also sought unspecified damages for pain and suffering.
The case is Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10, Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey (Atlantic City).