Boston Scientific slapped with $100M verdict in vaginal mesh suit

Boston Scientific's Advantage Fit sling--Courtesy of Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific ($BSX) was ordered to fork over $100 million to a woman who alleged that the company's vaginal mesh products caused her undue pain and suffering, a stinging blow for the device giant as it moves to settle claims with patients.

As Bloomberg reports, a state court jury in Delaware found that the company's Advantage Fit and Pinnacle vaginal mesh inserts were defectively designed and that Boston Scientific engaged in fraud by hiding the flaws from patients and doctors. Jurors awarded plaintiff Deborah Barba $75 million in compensatory damages and slapped the company with $25 million in punitive damages. Boston Scientific did not immediately reply to a call or email from Bloomberg for comment on the verdict.

"While we are extremely pleased with this verdict and the relief we hope it will bring to the Barbas for Deborah's unspeakable suffering, we also hope Boston Scientific and other mesh manufacturers take note of this verdict and resolve all pending cases swiftly," Fidelma Fitzpatrick, a Motley Rice attorney representing Barba, said in a statement.

The verdict comes as the Marlborough, MA-based company attempts to settle up with patients, agreeing last month to pay $119 million to resolve about 3,000 lawsuits over the devices. But Boston Scientific has faced its fair share of legal drama over the products, dealing with fallout from women who claim the company's vaginal mesh products caused them constant pain and injuries. In November, a federal court jury ordered the company to pay $26.7 million to four women who claimed its Pinnacle devices caused undue pain and suffering. A week later, a federal jury ordered the devicemaker to pay $18.5 million regarding claims tied to its mesh products.

Boston Scientific still faces more than 23,000 claims related to vaginal mesh implants in U.S. state and federal courts, including cases consolidated before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in West Virginia and 1,700 cases assigned to one judge in Massachusetts state court.

But the company is not the only one facing legal pushback for its vaginal mesh products. Devicemakers such as Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), C.R. Bard ($BCR), Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP) and Coloplast are also wading through mesh-related claims, settling with patients or in some cases battling it out in court. C.R. Bard lost a bid earlier this year to push back a product liability trial after Judge Goodwin urged companies to settle cases. And J&J and its Ethicon unit still face more than 36,000 lawsuits in state and federal courts over related devices.

Eager to lay claims to rest, Coloplast forked over $16 million in March 2014 to settle lawsuits over vaginal-mesh inserts. Endo followed suit and said in October that it would add $400 million to its $1.2 billion reserve to resolve "substantially all" claims related to vaginal mesh implants sold by its American Medical Systems subsidiary.

- read the Bloomberg story
- here's Motley Rice's statement