Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit: Bernstein Liebhard LLP Comments on Significance of Punitive Damage Award in First Ethicon Lawsuit

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The Firm is currently representing hundreds of women in vaginal mesh lawsuits against Ethicon and other pelvic mesh manufacturers.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP | Consumer Injury Lawyers
An award of this type indicates the jury found Johnson & Johnson acted with reckless indifference to the rights and safety of patients, and makes it clear that they were sending the company a message that its conduct was not acceptable.

A New Jersey Superior Court jury charged with determining liability in the nation’s first transvaginal mesh lawsuit involving an Ethicon pelvic mesh device has awarded the Plaintiff more than $11 million in damages, Bernstein Liebhard LLP reports. In addition to $3.35 million in compensatory damages, the Atlantic County jury hearing the Ethicon mesh lawsuit ordered Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary to pay an additional $7.76 million in punitive damages. According to the Firm, the outcome of this trial could predict how juries will weigh claims in similar vaginal mesh lawsuits in the future. (Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10, Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey (Atlantic City)).

“Punitive damages are rare in these types of cases, so this was significant. An award of this type indicates the jury found Johnson & Johnson acted with reckless indifference to the rights and safety of patients, and makes it clear that they were sending the company a message that its conduct was not acceptable,” says Jeffrey S. Grand, a partner with Bernstein Liebhard LLP who is serving as Co-Liaison for thousands of Ethicon mesh lawsuits pending in a consolidated litigation underway in Atlantic County Superior Court. (In re Pelvic Mesh/Gynecare Litigation, No. 6341-10) Mr. Grand, along with lead counsel Adam Slater and David Mazie of Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, and Ben Anderson of the Anderson Law Office, served as the trial team for the Plaintiff. Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing the victims of defective drugs and medical devices, continues to offer free case evaluations to women who experienced serious complications, including mesh erosion, pain, scarring, infection and other serious injuries, allegedly due to pelvic mesh products marketed by Ethicon and other manufacturers.

Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits

The Plaintiff in the New Jersey trial, a 47-year-old retired nurse from South Dakota, was forced to undergo multiple corrective surgeries after receiving the Gynecare Prolift pelvic mesh device in 2006. According to a report from Bloomberg.com, a Johnson & Johnson official testified during trial that a prototype of the implant failed in 20 percent of women within six months even before Prolift was first sold in 2005. The same witness also disclosed that 27 percent of the devices failed within a year. * Documents unsealed ahead of the trial showed Johnson & Johnson sold Prolift for several years without seeking approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and continued to do so even after the agency ordered it to stop sales of the device until it submitted the appropriate information to the agency. Despite being launched in 2005, Prolift was not officially cleared by the FDA until 2008.**

The litigation involving pelvic mesh devices used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence has been growing since 2011, when the FDA warned that there had been a five-fold increase in reports of serious complications associated with the use of transvaginal mesh. At the time, the FDA modified its previous position on the frequency of such complications, stating in the alert that vaginal mesh injuries associated with pelvic organ prolapse repair were not rare.***

Court documents indicate that Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary are facing more than 2,100 claims in the New Jersey pelvic mesh litigation. In addition to his work with that proceeding, Bernstein Liebhard LLP partner Jeffrey S. Grand is also serving as Co-Liaison Counsel in a second litigation underway in Atlantic County Superior Court involving vaginal mesh lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard. (In re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation/Bard, No. L-6339-10). Mr. Grand has also been named to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees in four federal pelvic mesh litigations underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia: In re: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2325”); In re: Boston Scientific Corp., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2326); In re: C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2187”); In re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2327”).

Victims of alleged vaginal mesh complications may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other injuries. A wealth of information regarding the firm's involvement with the ongoing Ethicon Gynecare litigation can be found at Bernstein Liebhard's website. To learn more about filing a vaginal mesh lawsuit, please call 1-877-779-1414.

*bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-11/j-j-s-mesh-failure-rate-exceeded-20-percent-jury-told.html
**bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-26/j-j-sold-vaginal-mesh-implant-after-sales-halt-ordered.html
***fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/UroGynSurgicalMesh/default.htm

About Bernstein Liebhard LLP
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is a New York-based law firm exclusively representing injured persons in complex individual and class action lawsuits nationwide since 1993, including those who have been harmed by dangerous drugs, defective medical devices and consumer products. The firm has been named by The National Law Journal to the “Plaintiffs’ Hot List,” recognizing the top plaintiffs’ firms in the country, for the past 10 consecutive years.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP
10 East 40th Street
New York, New York 10016
(877) 779-1414

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. © 2013 Bernstein Liebhard LLP. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Bernstein Liebhard LLP, 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016, (212) 779-1414. Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.
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Contact Information:
Felecia L. Stern, Esq.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP
info(at)consumerinjurylawyers(dot)com
http://www.consumerinjurylawyers.com

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Felecia L. Stern
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