In a closely watched case that was viewed as an indicator of how hundreds of similar cases may turn out, a California woman and her husband have been awarded $3.6 million in damages in their lawsuit against a transvaginal mesh implant manufacturer. The award was made by a Superior Court jury in Bakersfield, Ca., to Christine Scott and her husband over the injuries the woman suffered as a result of a C.R. Bard Avaulta Plus implanted in her body and the loss of consortium suffered by her husband because of her injuries.
Dozens of transvaginal mesh manufacturers are defending defective medical device lawsuits filed by hundreds of women who have suffered serious health problems as a result of mesh implants that have failed, according to allegations similar to those in the Scotts’ lawsuit. More on the transvaginal mesh implant lawsuit.
Over the last few decades mesh implants have been the focus of complaints from women, consumer groups and medical researchers who claim that many of the devices, including models manufactured by such medical device heavyweights as C.R. Bard and Johnson & Johnson are not safe because of design defects and inadequate testing.
According to a report posted by Bloomberg News, “The panel found Bard officials were negligent in their handling of the devices, used to treat pelvic organs that bulge, or prolapse, or to deal with incontinence, she said.
‘They seemed to focus on evidence we produced showing that Bard didn’t properly test the product before putting it on the market,’ according to an attorney for the Scotts, who said she asked jurors to consider awarding as much as $11 million in damages to the couple over the implant.
The case is the first to go to trial among hundreds of lawsuits alleging that implants made by Murray Hill, New Jersey-based Bard, Boston Scientific Corp. and other companies caused organ damage. The decision comes more than a month after Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit announced it would stop selling four lines of vaginal mesh devices.
In its verdict, the California jury determined that Scott and her husband were entitled to a total of $5.5 million for her medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages. The panel found Bard was 60 percent at fault for Scott’s injuries while Dr. Tillakarasi Kannappan, who surgically implanted the device in 2008, was responsible for the other 40 percent of the liability, according a copy of the verdict sheet filed with the court.
The doctor wasn’t a defendant in the trial and isn’t responsible for paying the $1.9 million in damages that made up the remainder of the verdict, according to court filings. Houghton said Scott’s claims against Kannappan were severed from the Bard case last year.
Bard officials said yesterday they were disappointed with the jury’s decision to hold the company liable over the implants and would appeal.”