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Johnson & Johnson Hit With $57M Judgment in Pelvic Mesh Suit

Court-ordered payment is going to a woman who underwent 3 surgeries to remove defective pelvic mesh implants.

Published: September 8, 2017

BIG MONEY The verdict is the largest to date in a series of mesh-related lawsuits.

Johnson & Johnson must pay $57.1 million to a woman who sued the company, and its subsidiary Ethicon, after enduring 3 separate procedures to remove pelvic mesh implants, which caused her pain and anguish. It's the fifth, and largest, verdict in a series of lawsuits filed against J&J and Ethicon by women who claim to have suffered post-op complications after receiving defective mesh implants.

Ella Ebaugh, 51, had Ethicon's TVT and TVT-Secur meshes implanted to treat stress urinary incontinence. The meshes eroded into her urethra and had to be surgically removed 3 times. Ms. Ebaugh suffered from intrinsic sphincter deficiency, chronic pain, dyspareunia and recurrent urinary tract infections.

Her lawsuit, which was filed in Philadelphia, Pa., accused J&J and Ethicon of negligent product design and producing inherently flawed products that can cause patient harm, says Ms. Ebaugh's attorney, Kila Baldwin. "I am pleased the jury recognized the reckless nature of Johnson and Johnson's conduct, and I hope the company takes notice and amends its practices," she adds.

The 4 other awards J&J must pay to women who suffered injuries due to allegedly defective mesh implants range from $2.1 million to $20 million, according to a published report. Ms. Baldwin says there are more than 100 similar lawsuits waiting to be tried in the Philadelphia court system alone.

Kristen Wallace, a spokeswoman for Ethicon, says implantable mesh is backed by years of clinical research and is considered by most doctors to be the gold standard treatment for urinary incontinence.

"We believe the evidence showed Ethicon's TVT and TVT-Secur devices were properly designed, that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the products, and the products were not the cause of [Ms. Ebaugh's] continuing medical problems," says Ms. Wallace. "Ethicon intends to appeal the verdict."

W. Curt Webb, Ethicon's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

Daniel Cook


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