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MIAMI — (Mealey’s) A federal jury in Florida on Nov. 13 awarded four women a total of $26.7 million in a multidistrict litigation trial involving Boston Scientific Corp.’s Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit pelvic mesh repair device (Amal Eghnayem, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corporation, No. 14-24061, S.D. Fla.).
(Eghnayem verdict available. Document #28-141120-005V. Bentacort verdict available. Document #28-141120-006V. Dotres verdict available. Document #28-141120-007V. Nunez verdict available. Document #28-141120-008V.)
After an eight-day trial, the jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida deliberated for less than a day before returning four verdicts. In all cases, the jury found that the plaintiffs proved their design defect, failure-to-warn, negligent design and negligent failure-to-warn claims.
On separate verdict forms, the jury awarded Amal Eghnayem and Juana Bentacort each $6,722,222 in compensatory damages, Margarita M. Dotres $6,766,666 in compensatory damages and Mania Nunez $6,533,333 in compensatory damages. The jury found that none of the plaintiffs showed intentional misconduct or gross negligence by Boston Scientific and awarded no punitive damages.
Eghnayem Discovery Question
On Eghnayem’s verdict form only, the jury found that the plaintiffs did not discover, or should have discovered through due diligence, facts giving rise to her claim on or before April 11, 2009.
Eghnayem, Dotres, Nunez and Bentacort are all Florida residents who had Pinnacle pelvic mesh devices implanted in them in Florida. Each claims that the mesh component contracted, causing tissue erosion, infection, fistula, inflammation, scar tissue, pelvic organ perforation, dyspareunia, blood loss, nerve damage and pain.
The plaintiffs sued Boston Scientific in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, where seven pelvic mesh multidistrict litigations are centralized. There are 13,000 cases involving BSC pelvic mesh devices, according to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia, who presides over the pelvic mesh MDLs, transferred the cases to the Southern District of Florida, where he presided over the trial.
Plaintiff experts included Richard W. Trepeta, M.D., a pathologist; Michael T. Margolis, M.D., a urogynecologist; Jimmy W. Mays, Ph.D., a chemist; Samuel P. Gido, Ph.D., a chemist; Peggy Pence, Ph.D., a regulatory expert; Dr. Mark Slack, a gynecologist; Dr. R. Brian Raybon, an OB/GYN; Linda Kiley, M.D., an OB/GYN; Vladimir Iakovlev, M.D., an anatomical pathologist; Konstantin Walmsley, M.D., a urologist; and Jorge Pando, M.D., an OB/GYN.
Defense experts included Stephen H. Spiegelberg, Ph.D., a chemical engineer, and Stephen Badylak, M.D., a biomaterials expert.
After the plaintiffs finished presenting their case, Boston Scientific moved for a directed verdict and judgment as a matter of law. The judge did not rule on those motions.
Partial Summary Judgment
Before trial, Judge Goodwin granted summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ manufacturing defect claim and breach of express and implied warranty claims.
Pelvic mesh is a device consisting of surgical mesh. It is surgically implanted in the pelvises of women to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
In three previous trials, juries in a Massachusetts state court returned defense verdicts and a Texas state court jury returned a $73.46 million compensatory/punitive verdict that was reduced to $34.46 million by a tort reform cap.
MDL defendants Coloplast Corp. and American Medical Systems Inc. have settled their cases. Other defendants are C.R. Bard Inc., Ethicon Inc., Cook Medical Inc. and Neomedic International.
Plaintiffs allege that the mesh can shrink and become hard and brittle, causing pain, tissue erosion, bleeding, infection, organ injury and painful sexual intercourse.
Eghnayem is represented by Bryan F. Aylstock, D. Renee Baggett and Douglas A. Kreis of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz in Pensacola, Fla.; Joseph A. Osborne of Babbitt, Johnson, Osborne & Le Clianche in West Palm Beach, Fla.; W. Michael Moreland of Clark, Love & Houston in Houston; and Henry G. Garrard of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley in Athens, Ga.
Dotres is represented by Andrew Judson, James B. Matthews, Gary B. Blasingame, Henry G. Garrard and Josh B. Wages of Blasingame Burch in Athens and W. Todd Harvey of Burke, Harvey & Frankowski in Birmingham, Ala.
Nunez and Bentacort are represented by Clayton A. Clark, Scott A. Love and W. Michael Moreland of Clark Love in Houston, Henry G. Garrard of Blasingame Burch in Athens and Jim M. Purdue Jr. of Perdue, Kidd & Vickery in Houston.
BSC is represented by Eric M. Anielak, Jon A. Strongman, Matthew D. Keenan and Robert T. Adams of Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, Mo., and Lindsey M. Saad and Michael Bonasso of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso in Morgantown, W.Va.
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