Boston Scientific Hit With $73.5 Million Jury Verdict In Mesh Case

Article by: JOE CARLSON, Star Tribune 

Updated: September 10, 2014 – 1:19 AM

A jury hit Boston Scientific with $73.5 million in damages this week in one of thousands of suits the device maker faces over an implant intended to treat incontinence.

The verdict in a Dallas court is part of a tsunami of product-defect and failure-to-warn litigation the device industry faces over similar products. Boston Scientific, which had won two similar suits in Massachusetts, has 23,000 more pending against it.

The plaintiff in the Texas case, 42-year-old Martha Salazar, is the first to win an award against the company over alleged defects with its Obtryx sling. Salazar said she suffered nerve damage and persistent pain and infections from the vaginal implant.

“I think it’s a really big case,” said David Matthews, the Houston personal-injury lawyer who represented her in the two-week trial. “A woman’s life was turned upside down because of a device she was using for a minor issue of urinary incontinence.”

Boston Scientific, which has a substantial share of its workforce in the Twin Cities, said in an e-mailed statement that it was disappointed in Monday’s ruling and vowed to appeal.

The company argued at trial that doctors’ continued widespread use of the devices shows that they understand the benefits and risks.

“Devices like the Obtryx serve an important public medical need,” company attorneys wrote in legal filings.

“The prevalence of their usage in the medical community demonstrates that mesh slings are beneficial to patients.”

Seven companies are sued

A total of seven companies are facing lawsuits over alleged defects in vaginal mesh devices, including C.R. Bard and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary, Reuters reported. Last April, a subsidiary of Dublin-based Endo International agreed t! o pay $8 30 million to settle about 20,000 defect lawsuits without admitting wrongdoing.

The devices are designed to treat incontinence and the shifting of organs from pelvic-floor prolapse, which can occur with age and after childbirth. Mesh slings are supposed to support weakened or damaged internal tissues, and may be removable or permanent.

Salazar accused Boston Scientific of negligence for designing and marketing the flawed Obtryx device even though it had a safer alternative design before January 2011, when her doctor implanted her device. The jury agreed, and awarded Salazar and her husband, Felix, $23.5 million in compensatory damages and an additional $50 million in punitive damages.

The jury verdict form said the Dallas jurors decided that the company’s actions amounted to gross negligence because executives knew of the risk from the product and sold it “with conscious indifference to the rights, safety or welfare of others.”

Evidence assailed

Company lawyers strongly dispute the strength of Salazar’s evidence at trial. They said she failed to show the device was “unreasonably dangerous” and never proved that the company failed to warn doctors of the risks inherent in the device.

“As conceded by Ms. Salazar’s treating surgeon, Dr. Lopez, the Obtryx is recognized by the medical community as the standard of care,” company lawyers wrote in court filings before the verdict, referring to stress urinary incontinence.

“Given this, no reasonable fact finder could find that Boston Scientific has acted with gross negligence.”

Salazar’s attorney Matthews said that although the company published a study warning of some risks in 2009, it did not tell doctors about the study or change warning labels for the device.

Although he represents several hundred other women with! active cases, Matthews noted that one jury verdict would not necessarily affect other cases.

But he said the volume of complaints from women with the devices should prompt changes at the company.

“They need to seriously reconsider whether the product needs to be on the market or not,” he said.

Joe Carlson • 612-673-4779



Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Recent Articles

Status of Baby Formula Lawsuits
May 25, 2022
Mardi Gras Road Safety Tips
Mardi Gras Road Safety Tips
February 9, 2022
Practice Road Safety this Holiday Season
Holiday Distracted Driving: Practice Road Safety this Season
December 14, 2021
Jordan Davis
Jordan Davis
13:24 20 Aug 19
Love the whole legal team at Taylor Martino. They truly care about their clients. Would not go to any another Injury... Lawyer in Alabama!read more
Kiyyah Malik
Kiyyah Malik
19:09 13 Jun 19
Ben Kearns and the staff at Taylor Martino made a terrible situation (car accident) into a much simpler less stressful... process. I appreciate all the dedication and hard work. They are highly recommended in my book!read more
Shadow Yuuki
Shadow Yuuki
20:04 22 May 19
These guys are the best. If anyone needs a lawyer, they did what they said they where going to do and when they said... they going to do it i got everything i should have. They are the best lawyers in Mobileread more
21:34 20 May 19
I heard about Ed Rowan from my aunt and gave him a call. Ed Rowan got things done in a timely matter and Elizabeth... Wright was very helpful and quick to respond when I had any more
Tim Howard
Tim Howard
15:11 23 Sep 18
I highly recommend the firm as they took my case and settled it quickly. They took me in and treated me like family... from day one. They kept me informed throughout the process and never left me feeling uncomfortable. Ben and Jennifer went above and beyond what anyone would more
sree harsha sunkara
sree harsha sunkara
15:14 13 Apr 18
This was the best law firm I have ever experienced. All I did was just contacted them and they did the rest for me and... updated me every week about the work in process. They were so good and I highly recommend them in case of any accidentsread more
Next Reviews