Source: Central Jersey.com
A South Jersey woman has been awarded a $20 million verdict for injuries suffered after receiving a pelvic mesh implant made by Bridgewater-based Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick.
Peggy Engleman of Cinnaminson was awarded $2.5 million compensatory damages and $17.5 million in punitive damages, following a three-week trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, according to Stark & Stark, the Princeton-base law firm that represented Engleman. Originally filed by Stark & Stark in 2013, the suit claimed that a TVT-Secur device manufactured by Ethicon was defective and that the companies failed to warn users of the risks.
Engleman had the device implanted in 2007 to relieve stress urinary incontinence, but said the device failed within a month and her condition returned. She began to experience pain and discomfort as the mesh started to erode inside her body and had multiple surgeries as a result. However, physicians were unable to remove all the shards of mesh in her abdomen.
“We empathize with women suffering from stress urinary incontinence, which can be a serious and debilitating condition,” Kristen Wallace, Ethicon communications, said in a statement.
“We believe the evidence showed Ethicon’s TVT-Secur device was properly designed, Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the product, and TVT-Secur was not the cause of the plaintiff’s continuing medical problems,” Wallace said. “Therefore, we are disappointed with today’s verdict and feel we have strong grounds for appeal.
According to Stark & Stark, there are 183 cases pending involving pelvic mesh litigation, with the next one scheduled to go on trial May 22.
Two earlier pelvic-mesh verdicts in Philadelphia against Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon resulted in awards of $12.5 million and $13.5 million. Johnson & Johnson also faces tens of thousands of additional lawsuits around the country regarding pelvic mesh implants, according to Stark & Stark.
Martin P. Schrama and Stefanie Colella-Walsh, both partners with Stark & Stark, filed the complaint of behalf of Peggy Engleman and worked with a team of attorneys on the case.
“Through this stunning verdict, the jury has unequivocally shown that Johnson & Johnson will have to pay a high price if their products are defective and harmful as well as their marketing practices unethical,” Schrama said.
“We are proud to bring justice for Peggy Engleman, who suffered incredible anguish and suffering, and hope to win additional verdicts for others experiencing unexpected consequences as a result of pelvic mesh implant failure,” Colella-Walsh added.