This week a Philadelphia intermediate Appellate Court denied an appeal filed by Johnson & Johnson to overturn a jury verdict punishing it with compensatory and punitive damages for the harm it caused Sharon Carlino with its transvaginal mesh implant. Ms. Carlino had a mid-urethral sling device implanted to address urinary incontinence. It was claimed by Ms. Carlino (and many other women) that the device was negligently designed and caused her to suffer permanent pain during sex.
The jury agreed that the mesh was defective because its pores were too small, it had a tendency to degrade/erode and it was overly friable. After a 14 day trial last February, the jury awarded Ms. Carlino $3,250,000 million in compensatory damages; $250,000 to her husband for loss of sexual services; $10,000,000 in punitive damages; and, $240,000 in delay damages. The Court strongly disagreed with Johnson & Johnson's argument that there was insufficient evidence put before the jury of its wanton and willful disregard for plaintiff's safety. It said: "The jury was free to determine that Ethicon (J & J) provided warnings so deliberately misleading as to warrant the imposition of punitive damages."