Boston Scientific, a company that developed a pelvic mesh product called Obtryx, failed in its effort to appeal a $18.5 million verdict against the company in a product liability lawsuit. In November 2014, a West Virginia jury concluded that the company owed compensation to four different women who received the Obtryx device. At the close of the 10-day trial, the presiding judge ordered that Boston Scientific must pay each plaintiff between $3.25 and $4.25 million.
Following the verdict, the Massachusetts-based medical device manufacturer appealed the award, asking the judge to reduce it on the basis that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate that the product is unreasonably unsafe. According to Boston Scientific, this product’s design and warnings were within the standard of care that applies for stress urinary incontinence products. The company also argued that the plaintiffs did not draw a causal connection between the alleged defects of the product and the injuries that they sustained. Boston Scientific also claimed that the warnings it included with the Obtryx product were sufficient and that the jury’s award of punitive damages was excessive.
On review, the appellate judge rejected Boston Scientific’s claims. According to the court, the record contained ample evidence that could support the jury’s conclusion that the plaintiffs had satisfied each element of the claims they advanced. For example, the defendant was misguided in referring to the standard of care for stress urinary incontinence. In a product liability action, the standard of care is the level of care that the manufacturer owed when creating the product, rather than the level of care a doctor owed in prescribing it.
Next, the court concluded that a reasonable jury could decide based on the evidence presented at trial that the risks of Obtryx outweighed any benefits that it could provide. At trial, the plaintiffs had offered expert witness testimony describing the risks associated with the product, which included scarring, degradation of the device, shrinkage, contraction, and trouble removing the product after implantation.
Finally, the court noted that Boston Scientific had been advised that polypropylene should not be used as a component of a medical device intended for permanent implantation and that the company may have concealed a number of studies indicating negative outcomes for Obtryx patients from doctors who were considering using the product.
Overall, Boston Scientific is facing nearly 20,000 lawsuits from plaintiffs who suffered serious and painful injuries after receiving a Obtryx pelvic mesh product. If you or someone you love has been harmed as a result of this device or a similar transvaginal mesh product offered by another manufacturer, the dedicated transvaginal mesh lawyers at Moll Law Group are prepared to assist you. We proudly serve victims and their families throughout the United States, including in Illinois, New York, Florida, and Texas. We provide our potential clients with a free consultation to help them learn about their legal options and how we may be able to assist them. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your appointment now.