The New Jersey Superior Court judge overseeing thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed against Ethicon Inc. has upheld the $11.1 million verdict awarded last year to the plaintiff in the proceeding’s first bellwether trial.
Judge Carol Higbee of Atlantic County Superior Court denied Ethicon’s motions for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict on July 15, noting that “there was strong evidence presented and multiple sources of evidence that in fact there were many problems with this product.” (Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10)
“We are pleased to see this litigation moving forward,” says Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing victims of defective drugs and medical devices.
The devices are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence. POP occurs when the internal structures that support the pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus and bowel, become so weak, stretched, or broken that the organs drop from their normal position and bulge (prolapse) into the vagina.
The injuries that women are suffering from this mesh implant are severe and debilitating. The edges of the mesh/sling cut through the skin after implantation causing infection and cutting into nearby structures sometimes puncturing the bladder, bowel and uterus.
Ethicon Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits
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Court documents indicate that more than 5,950 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against Ethicon, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, in the multi-county litigation underway in Atlantic County Superior Court.
The proceeding’s first bellwether trial concluded in March 2013, when the jury hearing the case awarded $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages to a woman who suffered serious vaginal mesh complications due to Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift device. Jeffrey S. Grand, a partner with Bernstein Liebhard LLP, is serving as Co-Liaison Counsel in the Ethicon litigation, and was a member of the plaintiff’s trial team. (In re Pelvic Mesh/Gynecare Litigation, No. 6341-10)
Grand was also appointed Co-Liaison Counsel in a second proceeding involving C.R. Bard devices that is moving forward in Atlantic County Superior Court. (In re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation/Bard, No. L-6339-10)
Court records also indicate that more than 19,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson in a federal multidistrict litigation underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia. Grand is also serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the federal proceeding. (In re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2327)
In addition, Grand is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in a number of other transvaginal mesh litigations underway in the Southern District of West Virginia, including those involving American Medical Systems, Inc. (MDL No. 2325); Boston Scientific Corp., (MDL No. 2326); and C.R. Bard, Inc., (MDL No. 2187).