A Delaware judge has refused to overturn a recent verdict in a Boston Scientific pelvic mesh lawsuit, but agreed to a 90% reduction in the amount of damages the manufacturer must pay to a woman who suffered severe and debilitating vaginal damage from the medical device.
In May, a state court jury in Delaware found that Deborah Barba was entitled to $25 million in compensatory damages for complications with Boston Scientific vaginal mesh, and indicated that an additional $75 million in punitive damages should be paid to punish the medical device manufacturer. However, Judge Mary Johnston ruled last week that the amount of the jury award was excessive.
While Judge Johnston refused to overturn the jury’s finding that Boston Scientific was liable for Barba’s injuries, she did decrease the damages that the manufacturer must pay from $100 million to $10 million.
In her decision to reduce the award, Judge Johnston noted that other punitive damage awards returned in similar cases against companies over vaginal mesh injuries have ranged from $1.75 million to $7.76 million.
Boston Scientific, which still faces about 20,000 other similar claims brought by other women, has indicated that it intends to continue to push to have the verdict overturned.
Earlier this year, the manufacturer announced that it reached a vaginal mesh settlement agreement to resolve about 3,000 claims for $119 million, and other agreements have reportedly been reached to resolve small groups of cases. However, thousands of Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits remain unresolved in state and federal courts nationwide.
With only a handful of cases going before juries, Boston Scientific has already been hit with several multi-million dollar verdicts, with many also involving large punitive damage awards that are designed to punish the manufacturer for recklessly manufacturing and marketing the transvaginal mesh products with disregard for the safety of consumers. However, the jury award in the Barba case was the largest returned in any one case against the company so far.
In November, a federal jury in Miami awarded $26.7 million to four women who suffered problems from Boston Scientific Pinnacle pelvic mesh. Later that same month, a federal jury in West Virginia ordered the company to pay $18.5 million to another four women over claims that Boston Scientific Obtryx vaginal mesh was also defectively designed.
Last year, a Texas state court jury also awarded $73.4 million to one woman who experienced problems with Obtryx mesh, including $50 million in punitive damages that were designed to punish the manufacturer for their actions in the design, manufacture and sale of the product. The verdict was subsequently reduced to $34 million under Texas state caps on punitive damages.
Vaginal Mesh Litigation
More than 70,000 women have filed a pelvic mesh lawsuit against Boston Scientific and other manufacturers of similar devices used for repair of pelvic organ prolapse or female stress urinary incontinence, including Ethicon, C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems (AMS), Coloplast and Cook Medical.
All of the complaints raise similar allegations that design defects with the pelvic mesh allowed it to erode through the vagina, causing infections or other complications that resulted in the need for surgical removal of the device.
Several cases involving other manufacturers have also gone before juries and resulted in multi-million dollar damage awards for women who experienced problems. While some manufacturers have reached agreements to resolve cases, the vaginal mesh litigation remains one of the largest active mass-tort proceedings nationwide.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia is overseeing the federal litigation, and has been pushing the manufacturers to reach vaginal mesh settlement agreements in light of the substantial liability they may face at trial.