A 12-person jury on Sept. 8 ordered Boston Scientific Corp. to pay a Texas woman $73 million after finding the company negligent in both the design and marketing of its Obtryx transvaginal mesh sling.
The case, Salazar vs. Lopez, was the first to go to trial against Boston Scientific in Texas state court, and the first to render a verdict against the company -- a hopeful sign for thousands of woman bringing similar product liability lawsuits in state and federal courts across the country. The jury's award included $50 million in punitive damages, far exceeding amounts awarded in previous pelvic mesh cases.
"Over a seven-year period, Boston Scientific failed to warn doctors and their patients of the serious complications associated with the Obtryx sling, even though the company was aware of the product's problems," said Ms. Salazar's attorney David Matthews, who tried the case alongside Dallas attorneys Tim Goss, Rich Capshaw and Kevin Edwards.
Ms. Salazar's attorneys also presented evidence that showed the medical device maker had deliberately withheld from doctors a clinical study that proved serious complications resulted from the company's mesh implant.
After nine days of testimony and one afternoon of deliberation, jurors found Boston Scientific's Obtryx transvaginal sling caused (then) 38-year-old Martha Salazar permanent pain, a pronounced limp and the burden of 42 additional procedures, including four major surgeries, to treat complications associated with the mesh implant.
A former 20-year employee of a property management firm, Ms. Salazar can no longer sit comfortably, walk, or exercise without constant pain as a result of injuries caused by the plastic mesh, said Matthews.
"We asked the jurors to deliver a verdict that would change the way Boston Scientific does business," he said. "The $50 million in punitive damages should get the company's attention."
Also working on the case were Sheila M. Bossier of Bossier & Associates in Jackson, MS, and Tim Goss, David Matthews and Richard Capshaw of Freese & Goss, PLLC, of Dallas.
Boston Scientific Corp. faces an additional 12,000 lawsuits in which other women claim the company's transvaginal slings caused pain and tissue and organ damage, resulting in further surgeries to remove the plastic from their bodies.