After 12 hours of deliberations, a jury in West Virginia awarded Donna Cisson $250,000 in damages, and $1.75 million in punitive damages against C.R. Bard as punishment for the company’s actions. The jury found that the Avaulta mesh implanted into Mrs. Cisson was defective and that Bard failed to warn her surgeon of the risks of the product. The jury did not agree with Bard’s claims that Cisson assumed the risk of complications with her mesh. Bard plans to appeal the decision, and insists that its transvaginal meshes are safe and were made in compliance with appropriate safety standards and that it did not act with disregard for the well-being of its customers.
Under Georgia law, 75% of Cisson’s punitive damages award, $1.3 million, will go to the Georgia general fund. This split recovery law is a tort reform designed to limit frivolous litigation and make courts less attracted to injured plaintiffs and their attorneys.
Three more bellwether trials are scheduled in the coming weeks, with plaintiffs Queen, Rizzo, and Jones seeking compensation from Bard starting on August 19. Trials against other transvaginal mesh defendants are set to begin later this year and into 2014.