An appellate court in New Jersey has issued an opinion upholding a jury’s award of $11.1 million against medical device manufacturer Johnson & Johnson in a pelvic mesh product liability lawsuit. The verdict came at the close of a two-month trial in which plaintiffs Linda and Jeffrey Gross alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s pelvic mesh product caused Linda to suffer severe, painful, and permanent injuries. Pelvic mesh products are designed to treat conditions like pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
Shortly after implantation, however, a number of women reported experiencing serious complications like severe abdominal pain, cramping, pain during sex, and bleeding. The mesh products often migrate or shift after implantation and are susceptible to erosion. Many cases required the removal of the devices, which led to additional pain and suffering, recovery time, and permanent complications. There have been thousands of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson regarding its transvaginal mesh products, alleging that the products are unreasonably dangerous and that the company failed to warn patients about these risks and complications.
Johnson & Johnson challenged the award on a number of bases, including a claim that the lower court judge erred by not applying the learned intermediary doctrine to the plaintiff’s fraudulent misrepresentation claim. Under this doctrine, a drug or device manufacturer can escape liability by showing that the plaintiff’s treating physician was in a better position to inform the plaintiff about the dangers and risks associated with the drug or device. The appellate court rejected this argument, along with Johnson & Johnson’s allegation that the lower court improperly failed to recognize evidence regarding causation and that the jury was improperly allowed to consider a punitive damages award.
The award reflects $3.35 million in compensatory damages for the plaintiffs’ pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. The remainder of the verdict, $7.76 million, reflects a punitive damages award against Johnson & Johnson. Punitive damages are a type of recovery that can be awarded when the plaintiff establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s conduct was willful, reckless, or wanton. Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for engaging in this type of behavior while also serving to discourage other companies from engaging in similar behaviors.
To recover compensation from a medical device manufacturer, the plaintiff must show that the device in question bears an unreasonably dangerous design or that the device the plaintiff received suffered from a defect during the manufacturing process, rendering it unreasonably dangerous. A plaintiff can also recover compensation by showing that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions with the product.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries as the result of a dangerous medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, we have helped numerous victims bring a claim against a drug or device manufacturer and receive the compensation that they deserve. We proudly serve clients across the nation, including in California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. We offer a free consultation to assist you with learning about the legal options that may be available to you. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.