An $11.1 million jury award against Johnson & Johnson by a woman injured by vaginal mesh has been upheld by a state court of appeals in New Jersey. Linda Gross filed suit against Ethicon, a division of J&J in 2008 alleging injuries including severe pain which resulted in 18 surgeries, the loss of her career as a nurse and the inability to have sex with her husband.
Following a 31 day trial in February 2013 the jury returned with a verdict of 3.35M in compensatory damages and 7.76M in punitive damages. The jurors found that J&J failed to adequately warn of the risks of the Prolift implant and made fraudulent representations to Ms. Gross. The 3.35M portion of the verdict represented just 45 minutes of the $57M per day advertising budget for J&J in 2012. The Gross case was the bellwether trial in New Jersey's multidistrict litigation over J&J's mesh products.
In response to the verdict, defense counsel moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial arguing that the award was not supported by adequate evidence. Both motions were denied and J&J appealed the decision.
During oral arguments held in February in the appeal, J&J argued that the judge was incorrect in her determination that there was sufficient evidence to support the juries findings. The panel, however agreed with the judge, referencing Ms. Gross' doctor's testimony that he would not have recommended the mesh or spent at least 45 minutes discussing it's drawbacks had he know that it “should not be implanted in sexually active people.” The judge also relied on Ms. Gross' testimony that she would not have opted for the Prolift had she known of the risks.
Not surprisingly, Ethicon has issued a statement that the company disagrees with the panel ruling and continues to believe it “acted appropriately and responsibly.”
Showard Law Firm represents women injured by vaginal mesh products and has recovered millions for women in Southern Arizona. If you have been injured by a mesh product contact us today for a free consultation.