For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Boston Scientific Loses Second Transvaginal Mesh Bellwether Case

lawyer and jurorsFederal jurors in Charleston, West Virginia delivered another landmark transvaginal mesh trial verdict on November 20 – marking Boston Scientific’s second trial loss in just a few weeks. The vaginal mesh manufacturer was ordered to pay $18.5 million in compensation to four women who claimed they suffered catastrophic injuries and financial losses because of the company’s defective Obtryx Sling.

Reuters reports that the beleaguered manufacturer — which still faces thousands of product liability claims alleging severe bladder sling problems — must compensate each of the four plaintiffs with monetary reparations ranging from $3.25 million to $4.25 million for their injuries, pain and suffering.

The closely watched trial lasted ten days and also culminated with a punitive damage award of $1 million for each claimant, after jurors determined that Boston Scientific was also liable for gross negligence.

Boston Scientific loses second transvaginal mesh lawsuit

The trial was the second bellwether case to be heard against Boston Scientific. The first case, involving the company’s Pinnacle mesh, was tried in Miami federal court and ended with a $26.7 million award for the plaintiffs.  Allegations raised by claimants in both Boston Scientific bellwether cases were that the company rushed its bladder slings and mesh devices to the market without sufficient clinical testing to establish product safety.

The outcomes of these early trials, while not binding to other Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, are still carefully monitored by lawyers for both sides. Multi-million dollar awards for the plaintiffs often portend a trend in litigation that contains similar accusations and issues of fact.

Boston Scientific was already hit with another hefty Obtryx mesh verdict in Texas early this year, which was later reduced to $34 million, in compliance with Texas caps. It may be too early to speculate whether the company will begin settlement talks with plaintiffs, or if it will continue to defend its products on a case by case basis.

In this most recent bellwether trial in West Virginia, four women argued that after being implanted with the Obtryx Sling they suffered a host of problems including infection, painful sexual intercourse and nerve damage.

“In these cases, the jurors clearly understood that Boston Scientific moved too quickly in bringing its product to market, and that it used inappropriate materials while at the same time failing to warn doctors and patients about the risks involved,” one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs told the told the National Law Journal.

The women each suffered from stress urinary continence (SUI) – a condition that is frequently treated with pelvic mesh devices. Their lawyers argued that the Obtryx Sling was made with polypropylene, a material that had never been FDA approved for permanent implantation in human patients and that the defendant failed to warn womens’ physicians about these inherent risks.

Bladder sling problems prompt national litigation

Boston Scientific isn’t the only company with legal woes. Transvaginal mesh litigation has reached epic proportions with C.R. Bard, Ethicon, Cotoplast and four other manufacturers facing more than 60,000 mesh lawsuits in the federal court system.

After Boston Scientific lost its second consecutive case, company shares dropped 1.5 percent to $12.90. Company representatives say they disagree with the verdict and are currently considering post-trial motions and an appeal.

With another major transvaginal mesh trial verdict illustrating the sentiments of federal jurors, thousands of other plaintiffs who suffered complications and economic losses from similar mesh products may have a glimmer of hope.

  1. Reuters, Boston Scientific to pay $18.5 million in mesh case

  2. Bloomberg, Boston Scientific Loses First Federal Trial Over Mesh

  3. Reuters, Boston Scientific ordered to pay $26.7 million over mesh devices