By Jessica Dye
REUTERS NEW YORK Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:28pm EST
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Boston Scientific Corp was ordered Thursday to pay $18.5 million for injuries caused by transvaginal mesh devices, a plaintiffs’ lawyer said, in the third courtroom loss for the company over the products.
A jury in West Virginia federal court found the Massachusetts company liable to four women following a 10-day trial, according to their lawyer, Doug Monsour. The company was ordered to pay each of the four women damages ranging from $3.25 million to $4.25 million for the injuries.
Jurors also said Boston Scientific had acted with “gross negligence” and awarded each woman $1 million in punitive damages, Monsour said.
“This jury, after carefully thinking about the evidence for two days, came to the proper decision that this was a defective product,” Monsour said.
Boston Scientific, whose shares fell 1.5 percent to $12.90, said in a statement that it disagreed with the verdict and was considering its appeals options.
The four plaintiffs say they suffered injuries such as pain during sex, nerve damage and infection as a result of the company’s Obtryx device, which is used to treat stress urinary incontinence.
Their claims are among more than 24,000 in U.S. state and federal courts against Boston Scientific over mesh devices.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers said at trial that Boston Scientific failed to perform sufficient safety testing in its rush to bring mesh products to market. They accused the company of using polypropylene to make the devices despite warnings that it was not meant to be permanently implanted in humans, and neglecting to tell doctors and women about those risks.
Boston Scientific has fought back against claims that the devices are defective or were to blame for the women’s complications.
Last week, a Miami federal jury returned a $26.7 million verdict against Boston Scientific following a trial involving claims from four women over its Pinnacle device for treating pelvic organ prolapse. It did not award punitive damages.
Earlier, a jury in Texas ordered the company to pay $73 million, which was later reduced to $34 million, in another mesh trial. Boston Scientific, however, won its first two mesh trials in Massachusetts state court.
Boston Scientific is among seven major defendants, also including C.R. Bard and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Inc, that together are facing more than 60,000 mesh lawsuits in federal court.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Franklin Paul,; Alexia Garamfalvi, Lisa Von Ahn and Andrew Hay)