On Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, a jury returned a $5.5 million verdict against Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, finding the company liable for an Indiana woman’s inability to have sexual intercourse after having a Prolift pelvic mesh implanted. The jury found the Ethicon scientists negligent regarding the implant.

The trial lasted two weeks and was the first of 180 cases to go to court through the mass tort program. The jury also granted a request for punitive damages against the company.

Hidden Side Effects

The lawsuit filed by Patricia Hammons in May 2013 alleged that shards of the Prolift mesh became imbedded in her bladder after the device was implanted between her bladder and vagina to correct sagging organs in 2009. She then contracted dyspareunia, a condition in which sexual intercourse is painful.

The lawsuit accused Ethicon of overlooking side effects associated with the implant and for hiding those risks from her surgeon.

Hammon’s attorneys argued that the design of the mesh implant was irredeemably flawed. They claimed that the product was constructed with too much mesh and too few holes, which made it more difficult for healthy tissue to grow around the device once it was implanted. Instead, they argued, the design prompted the growth of scar tissue, which contracts over time, pulls the mesh with it and ultimately can lead to the shrinking of the vagina.

Ethicon argued that Hammon’s complaints were more likely linked to the several surgeries she has undergone to treat her condition, including a vaginal hysterectomy. The company claimed that pelvic implants like Prolift, which are made of polypropylene, have been evaluated and observed for years.

The company also argued that Hammon knew about the link between the pelvic mesh and her condition before the May 2013 filing date and well in advance of the two-year statutory limit for filing a claim.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective product, contact the experienced team of lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan who are dedicated to fighting for the rights of the injured.