Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) must pay $7 million in punitive damages on top of $5.5 million in compensatory damages it was ordered to pay yesterday in the 1st of a series of pelvic mesh lawsuits.
Jurors took 2 hours of deliberation before they reached the $7 million figure, according to Law360.com.
Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon division said they will appeal the verdict in the trial, brought against it by Patricia Hammons over her inability to have sex after being implanted with the company’s pelvic mesh.
“We believe the evidence showed Ethicon’s Prolift pelvic organ prolapse repair kit was properly designed; Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the product; and Prolift was not the cause of the plaintiff’s continuing medical problems. We have always made patient safety a top priority and will continue to do so,” Ethicon communications director said according to Law360.com.
A total of 10 of 12 jurors agreed the company failed to warn the implanting surgeon of risks associated with the product and found J&J to be negligent in their design of the implant which resulted in Hammons inability to have sex.
The pelvic mesh makers will have to challenge more than 860 product liability lawsuits on a case-by-case basis, a Pennsylvania state judge ruled in 2014 in a growing mass tort action in Philadelphia.
Judge Arnold New, director of the Complex Litigation Center at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, on Sept. 2 dismissed joint motions by J&J subsidiary Ethicon, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR) and Endo Health Solutions (NSDQ:ENDP) unit American Medical Systems Holdings to toss all of the lawsuits en masse, according to court documents.
The defendants had argued that Pennsylvania law bars the bulk of the claims lodge in a master complaint covering some 863 product liability lawsuits filed with the Philly court.
“The preliminary objections are overruled without prejudice to raise as a choice-of-law issue via summary judgment on a case-by-case basis,” New wrote, according to court documents.
Earlier in 2014 New dismissed a 5th defendant, Secant Medical, from the mass tort. Keystone State law shields Secant from the lawsuits because the company only made a component of the larger companies’ transvaginal mesh products, New wrote.
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