West Virginia Jury Gives $3.25 Million to Woman Injured by Defective Medical Device
Earlier this month, a Charleston jury sitting in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, awarded $3.25 million to a woman who was injured after doctors implanted a faulty medical device into her body. The device at issue is a transvaginal mesh, also known as a pelvic mesh or sling, intended to support internal organs from prolapse or to treat stress urinary incontinence. Unfortunately, the slings have caused numerous health complications, including bleeding, pain, and infection, sometimes requiring revision surgeries to remove the sling or repair the extra damage done.
Over 66,000 cases have been lodged against seven different medical device manufacturers. These case been consolidated through the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) and are being coordinated by the U.S. Southern District Court of West Virginia.
The recent $3.25 million award in the case of Huskey v. Ethicon came in what is known as a bellwether trial. The court is conducting a small handful of trials of key cases in the litigation, with the hope that the rest of the cases will settle once the parties see how a jury is likely to rule in their case. Huskey v. Ethicon is the second bellwether trial in the MDL against Ethicon. The first case against parent company Johnson & Johnson ended in February with a directed verdict in favor of the defendant, meaning the judge ruled for the device maker without handing the case over to the jury.
Pelvic mesh manufacturers have not fared well in other cases which have gone to trial. A Dallas jury in April awarded $1.1 million in a case against Ethicon, while a New Jersey jury in February told Johnson & Johnson to pay $11.1 million, $7.6 of which was awarded as punitive damages. Avaulta Plus mesh maker C.R. Bard was hit with a $5.5 million verdict in California in 2012, and again with a $2 million verdict more recently. Endo International and its American Medical Systems unit agreed last year to settle an undisclosed number of cases for $55 million, and just this June they decided to settle all the approximately 20,000 cases filed against them for $830 million.