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South Dakota Woman Wins $3.35 mln Jury Award over J&J’s Vaginal Mesh

On Monday, the first jury verdict, among close to 1,800 vaginal mesh cases brought against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey, was given. The jury held the Johnson & Johnson must pay Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, South Dakota, a sum of $3.35 million for failing to warn her doctor adequately about the potential dangers of a vaginal mesh implant by Ethicon.

The jury also found that J&J had made several misrepresentations in its product brochures.

The lawsuit filed by Linda Gross in the state Superior Court in Atlantic City, New Jersey, had alleged that the Gyncare Prolift vaginal mesh was unsafe and that J&J and Ethicon were liable for “their defective design, manufacture, warnings and instructions,” among other things.

The Ethicon product was taken off the U.S. market last year. Gyncare Prolift vaginal meshes had been promoted for treating pelvic organ collapse. The plaintiff had been treated for the same condition.

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The pelvic organ collapse condition occurs when pelvic tissue forces its way into the vagina, usually after menopause, childbirth, or hysterectomy. A severe form of urinary incontinence was also treated by implanting the vaginal mesh.

Gross had installed a Gyncare Prolift for pelvic prolapsed, but soon after, faced a variety of problems, including extensive neurologic damages to structures and tissue and also faced other problems like mesh erosion, inflammation, and scar tissue.

According to the plaintiff, she required 18 subsequent operations to repair the damage caused by J&J’s vaginal mesh.

The jury, consisting of a panel of six women and three men, took their decision following a six-week trial of the case before Judge Carol Higbee. The judge has ruled that she would allow the parties to argue on punitive damages.

J&J’s reputation continues to take a beating with this ruling coming almost back to back of the company having recalled its defective artificial hips.

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