Today, there are thousands of lawsuits being brought against the makers of transvaginal mesh products, including Johnson & Johnson. This month, a jury in Georgia returned a verdict against Johnson & Johnson in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the manufacturer was responsible for injuries that the plaintiff sustained after being implanted with a Mentor ObTape transobturator vaginal sling. While the manufacturer of the device discontinued it in 2006, countless women received the device prior to this time.
Due to the incredible volume of cases involving health complications linked to the Mentor ObTape product, they have been organized into a multi-district litigation (MDL) proceeding centralized in the Middle District of Georgia. MDLs are similar to class actions in that common questions of fact and law are resolved on a broader basis, but they are different in that each plaintiff’s claim is evaluated individually and subject to a unique determination of whether damages are appropriate.
In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that her doctors prescribed and implanted a ObTape device to treat her stress urinary incontinence. Shortly after the surgery, the plaintiff began experiencing severe pain, infections, and a worsening of her urinary incontinence. She also required multiple follow-up surgeries to address these symptoms and will need extensive continued medical care well into the future.
Regarding the cause of the injuries, the plaintiff alleged, and other victims of ObTape have contended, that the device begins deteriorating after implantation. The eroding mesh results in substantial internal damage to tissues and vaginal walls. Some of the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson regarding the product have also contended that the manufacturer failed to conduct adequate tests of the vaginal sling product before releasing it on the medical device market in 2003.
There are three different ways that a plaintiff can establish a medical device manufacturer’s liability in a product liability lawsuit. The first method is known as the design defect method. This requires the plaintiff to show that the device’s design is unreasonably dangerous. Second, the plaintiff can show that while the device’s design is reasonably safe, the unit that the plaintiff received suffered from a manufacturing defect that rendered it unreasonably dangerous. This is called the manufacturing defect theory.
Finally, the plaintiff can show that the defendant failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions with the product and that had it done so, the plaintiff’s injuries and damages would probably not have occurred.
The jury’s damages award reflected $400,000 for the plaintiff’s compensatory damages and an additional $4 million in punitive damages. This category of damages is designed to punish a defendant who is found to have acted willfully, intentionally, and recklessly while also providing a deterrent against other companies engaging in the same behavior. Last year, Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle 110 similar lawsuits pending against it in an MDL proceeding concerning the ObTape product.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a dangerous or defective medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. The dedicated medical device lawyers at Moll Law Group have handled many transvaginal mesh and other product liability cases, and we know what it takes to bring a successful claim. Representing clients throughout the United States, including in Texas, Illinois, Florida, and New York, we provide each client with the compassionate and personalized representation that they deserve. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.