Transvaginal Mesh Plaintiffs Defeat BSC’s Motion for Summary Judgment on Punitive Damages

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Transvaginal mesh is an implant typically manufactured with a plastic material called polypropylene. The product was created to repair conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. The mesh was used fairly commonly to treat women over the past two decades until several products were recalled in the summer of 2011.

Last month Federal District Judge Goodwin was tasked with a legally complex analysis regarding the applicability of punitive damages in the case against Boston Scientific. While civil litigation is not typically fashioned to impose a penalty on defendants, under limited circumstances a civil defendant may be forced to pay punitive damages above and beyond the compensatory damages calculated to make the plaintiff whole. These damages are often imposed when defendants had express, direct knowledge that their misconduct could cause injury, and continued the acts nonetheless.

In denying the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue, Judge Goodwin concluded that a reasonable jury could find Boston Scientific acted with reckless and/or conscious disregard of the health and safety of its consumers, and therefore, summary judgment was inappropriate. Judge Goodwin also concluded that a reasonable jury could find that the Defendant knew its product would probably cause injury to another person, and placed it in the stream of commerce anyway.

Just this week Boston Scientific Corporation, one of the pharmaceutical manufacturers of the propylene mesh product, disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it has agreed to settle nearly 3,000 cases and claims of women who were injured by the company’s mesh products for $119 million dollars. A couple notable jury verdicts against Boston Scientific have resulted in $18.5 million and $26.7 million awards for plaintiffs.

Boston Scientific still faces more than 22,000 transvaginal mesh claims nationwide. There are now more than 70,000 claims against pharmaceutical manufacturers for transvaginal mesh products. A final number of around 100,000 claims are expected. Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger is currently reviewing and accepting these cases on behalf of women injured by transvaginal mesh on a nationwide basis.