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A state court jury in Philadelphia has returned a $20 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon division, including punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer over problems with the Ethicon TVT-Secur transvaginal mesh.
The trial involved a lawsuit brought by Margaret Engleman, who received the mesh implant for treatment of stress urinary incontinence, but later developed severe and debilitating complications when the TVT-Secur mesh eroded through her internal flesh. Due to the design of the vaginal mesh, some of it had to be left in Engleman’s body, which has caused ongoing pain and urinary problems.
Late last week, the jury returned a verdict that included $2.5 million in compensatory damages, and an additional $17.5 million punitive damages awarded against the manufacturer for recklessly endangering Engleman and other women.
Ethicon and other transvaginal mesh manufacturers have faced tens of thousands of similar claims brought by women throughout the United States, each involving allegations that the mesh used for repair of pelvic organ prolapse and female stress urinary incontinence migrated through the vagina, causing infections and other painful injuries. However, many of the manufacturers have reached vaginal mesh settlements to avoid potential jury verdicts.
This case is at least the third multi-million dollar verdict in an Ethicon vaginal mesh lawsuit trial held in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In February 2016, a jury awarded a woman $13.5 million, including $10 million in punitive damages. That followed a December 2015 trial, which resulted in a $12.5 million award for the plaintiff, including $7 million in punitive damages.
Three additional Ethicon mesh trials are scheduled over the next two months, and the manufacturer has indicated that it intends to appeal last week’s verdict.