Just this week C.R. Bard, a maker of vaginal mesh implants, was ordered to pay a Georgia woman $2 million after the jury decided the medical device maker hid flaws with its product from the public. The trial, which wrapped up earlier this week in West Virginia, culminated with a $250,000 award for compensatory damages and a $1.75 million award for punitive damages for Donna Cisson.
Cisson sued C.R. Bard over injuries she suffered as a result of one of its Avaulta line of products. Cisson is a nurse from northern Georgia who received the Avaulta Plus implant in 2009 to help support organs that were collapsing into her pelvic region. Cisson claimed the vaginal mesh implant led to organ damage, harmed her bladder and made sexual intercourse extraordinarily painful as the device began to erode.
Cisson’s attorneys argued that Bard had knowledge of defects in the Avaulta implants years before finally pulling them off the market, but chose to ignore negative information in the interest of maintaining healthy profits. Bard ultimately pulled the Avaulta line of implants off the market last year following an order from the FDA that manufacturers had to begin studying rates of organ damage associated with the implant.
Jurors in Cisson’s case ultimately decided that Bard had defectively designed the Avaulta implants and subsequently failed to inform doctors and the public about serious flaws in the vaginal mesh. The jury determined that the company’s mishandling of the matter amounted to malice and that the fraudulent conduct deserved substantial punishment.
Cisson’s was among the first cases to go to trial regarding vaginal mesh implants and it followed a trend set by previous cases where manufacturers were hit with large jury awards. Last year a jury in California found Bard liable for one woman’s injuries who similarly had an Avaulta mesh device implanted. That case, the first vaginal mesh case to go to trial in an American court, resulted in a $5.5 million damage award.
Though Cisson’s case is now over, Bard is far from done. According to experts, Bard is currently facing more than 8,000 other claims relating to its Avaulta devices, with two more cases heading to trial next month. Beyond Bar’s products, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions and Boston Scientific are all facing similar claims that their vaginal mesh implants can shrink over time and cause serious harm to unsuspecting women.
If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Bard Loses $2 Million Verdict in Vaginal-Mesh Trial,” by Jef Feeley, published at Bloomberg.com.
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