CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal jury in West Virginia has awarded a Georgia woman $2 million in damages in a lawsuit involving surgical mesh pelvic repair products.
The jury in U.S. District Court in Charleston on Thursday found that C.R. Bard Inc. failed to warn of the dangers associated with surgical mesh devices the company sold.
According to court documents, 54-year-old Donna Cisson of Georgia was awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages after the trial that began July 29.
The Charleston Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/14Pe4lC) that Cisson's case was the first of thousands of surgical mesh federal lawsuits filed nationwide to go to trial.
The lawsuits accuse the implants' manufacturers of inadequate testing, failing to disclose potential risks and fraudulently promoting the mesh as a safe medical device.
Bard contends the mesh was safe for its intended use and had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA cleared the mesh — often a soft, lightweight porous plastic — for pelvic organ prolapse in 2002, and the agency said in a 2008 public notice that problems were rare. In July 2011, however, the FDA said it erred in its initial assessment and estimated that the most common problems occur in 10 percent of women within a year of surgery.
The first trial of Cisson's lawsuit ended in a mistrial in early July after U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin determined that jurors would not be able to disregard improper testimony by a plaintiff's witness.
In June, Goodwin granted summary judgment to Bard dismissing several claims made by Cisson's lawsuit, including a manufacturer's defect. He also said then that a jury may award punitive damages, if appropriate, in a separate trial.
Cisson's lawsuit is one of four bellwether cases that Goodwin will hear to determine the next step in litigation for the remaining lawsuits.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation assigned the federal lawsuits to Goodwin. Lawsuits also have been filed in state courts.