A Pennsylvania state jury recently returned a $20 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson over injuries suffered by a New Jersey woman after receiving a vaginal mesh implant. This is the third consecutive eight-figure award against Johnson & Johnson in the pelvic mesh mass tort program in Philadelphia County court.
The Plaintiff, Peggy Engleman, was awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $17.5 million in punitive damages after a three-week trial. She claimed that a TVT-Secur medical device manufactured by J&J’s subsidiary Ethicon was defective and that the company had failed to warn of its risks. In the event some don’t know, the TVT-Secure is a transvaginal mesh tape that is used to treat stress incontinence, a condition that results in the leakage of urine when physical activity such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting puts pressure on the bladder. Engleman, who filed her lawsuit in 2013, had the device implanted in 2007. Ms. Engleman testified that the TVT-Secur failed within a month and her urinary dysfunction returned. In addition, the polypropylene mesh eroded through her vagina, and though she has undergone three removal procedures, her treating physicians have been unable to completely remove the mesh.
The 56-year-old New Jersey resident said she now has chronic vaginal pain, pelvic floor spasms and permanent urinary dysfunction. Ms. Engleman, in a statement said: “I’m happy I could be a voice for other women. It’s been a nightmare, and I feel justice was truly served today.”
The TVT-Secur product was first put on the market in September 2006, but Engleman’s lawyers said J&J had received numerous reports of high failure rates from countries all over the world. Benjamin Anderson of Cleveland-based Anderson Law Offices, who was the lead Plaintiff’s counsel, said in a statement:
This jury sent a strong message today to Johnson & Johnson that they continue to hear in courtrooms across the country – our communities deserve better than these dangerous mesh devices and putting profits before safety will not be tolerated.
Two previous trials in Philadelphia handled by Shanin Specter of Kline & Specter have already resulted in a pair of damage awards against Ethicon totaling some $26 million. A 2015 case produced a $12.5 million verdict for an Indiana woman and a 2016 case led to a $13.5 million for a New Jersey woman. The pelvic mesh mass tort program still has 183 cases pending.
Engleman is represented by Benjamin Anderson of the Anderson Law Offices, Bryan Aylstock and Daniel J. Thornburgh of Aylstock Witkin Kreis & Overholtz PLLC and Chris Gomez of Kline & Specter PC. The case is Engleman v. Gynecare et al (case number 140305384) in the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia.