Boston Scientific prevailed on a jury verdict today in a key Massaschusetts pelvic mesh suit against the company. Maria Cardenas v. Boston Scientific.
After two-and-a-half days of deliberations, jurors found Boston Scientific's Obtryx pelvic mesh device was not defectively designed and that the company adequately warned Maria Cardenas's treating physician of the possibility of erosion inside the body. Cardenas, who had the Obtryx pelvic mesh device implanted in 2008, sued Boston Scientific company after the device eroded inside her and had to be removed.
The verdict may signal a trend in Massachusetts suits against Boston Scientific and its pelvic mesh products. In July, the company prevailed in the the state's first suit against it and its Pinnacle pelvic mesh device. The company faces hundreds of potential lawsuits in Massachusetts alone over its pelvic mesh devices. Nationwide, there are more than 100,000 claims against Boston Scientific and other pelvic mesh manufacturers.
The week-long Cardenas trial turned on testimony surrounding the product’s design and conflicting opinions on its safety and risks. Cardenas's attorneys argued that Boston Scientific’s own internal documents pushed sales of the pelvic mesh device despite questions concerning its safety, and that the company failed to warn of device shrinkage of 20% or more inside the body. Her counsel also claimed that Boston Scientific's expert witness testimony conflicted with their own previously published articles questioning the mesh. "Maybe their experts are not shooting straight with you guys," Cardenas's attorney Doug Monsour told jurors in closing statements. "They're telling you Boston Scientific's story."
By contrast, Boston Scientific’s counsel offered testimony from experts that its mesh had a strong history of safe use, and that its directions for use clearly warned of the possibility of erosion. In closing arguments, Boston Scientific's attorney Susan Murphy reminded jurors of of more than 20 clinical studies on the pelvic mesh's safe design and expert testimony endorsing its use. "The community (of urologists) does not believe this product to be unreasonably dangerous. To the contrary, they believe it to be safe and effective," she said.
Outside Massachusetts, other manufacturers have fared worse in pelvic mesh litigation. In July, a New Jersey Superior Court upheld an $11.1 million verdict in Linda Gross v. Ethicon, one of the state’s bellwether pelvic mesh cases. That trial, recorded by CVN, led to a jury finding that Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, misrepresented its product and failed to warn Gross’s physician of its risks. Earlier this year, a Texas jury awarded Linda Batiste $1.2 million in her pelvic mesh suit against Ethicon. In August, manufacturer C.R. Bard agreed to settle more than 500 pelvic mesh suits pending in Texas.