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Damages Reduced to $34 Million in Boston Scientific Mesh Verdict

lawyer and jurorsDamages awarded to the plaintiff in a Boston Scientific mesh verdict last month have been reduced by half in compliance with a Texas statute capping punitive damages.

Last month, a Dallas jury determined that plaintiff Martha Salazar should receive approximately $23 million in compensatory damages for the pain and suffering inflicted by the Obtryx sling, a product designed by Boston Scientific to treat urinary incontinence and other conditions in women. They also added $50 million in punitive damages in connection to the defendant’s negligence.

Judge Ken Molberg reduced the punitive damages award to $11.2 million in order to follow a Texas law stipulating that punitive damages against companies can be no more than twice the monetary losses of the plaintiff in addition to $750,000 in non-monetary losses.

Award reduction in Boston Scientific mesh verdict anticipated by plaintiff’s lawyer

Counsel for the plaintiff stated that the reduction in the punitive damages award had been anticipated. Even after the reduction, however, he noted that it was still a “very significant finding” in a single case.

The jury in Salazar v. Lopez (case # DC-1214349) heard testimony that the implantation of the sling left the 42 year-old defendant with nerve damage and constant pain severe enough that she walks with a limp. Salazar underwent the initial surgery to have the sling implanted in January of 2011 and has since undergone four surgeries to correct the damage caused by the sling, which can erode and inflict significant organ damage.

The compensatory damages were awarded by the jury in order to cover such expenses as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The jury also found that the Obtryx sling had a design flaw of which Boston Scientific failed to warn doctors or potential patients. $50 million punitive damages were awarded in light of the defendant’s negligence and failure to warn. The jury arrived at the verdict the same day that the trial, which was conducted in the District Court for Dallas County, began.

Transvaginal mesh lawsuit award first victory for Boston Scientific plaintiffs

The transvaginal mesh lawsuit award that Salazar received was the first victory for a plaintiff in trials against Boston Scientific. Two lawsuits that took place in July and August of this year in Massachusetts concerning the Boston Scientific Pinnacle and Obtryx slings, respectively, and the injuries that they allegedly caused, were decided for the defendant.

There are thousands more cases concerning Boston Scientific vaginal mesh products waiting to go to trial, however. Approximately 14,000 Boston Scientific cases have been consolidated as part of a large multidistrict litigation (MDL) taking place in West Virginia. The MDL, which encompasses over 66,000 transvaginal mesh (or bladder sling) cases related to products manufactured by seven different companies was designed to streamline the process by which the cases were processed in the court system.

As there has been little progress in establishing large scale surgical mesh settlements, Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, the presiding judge in the vaginal mesh MDL, has had to establish abbreviated pre-trial discovery processes and to remand waves of cases back to their original jurisdictions.

American Medical Systems has been the first and only company to settle the vast majority of the claims against it, setting aside a $1.6 billion settlement fund earlier this month.

  1. NY Times, Women Sue Over Device to Stop Urine Leaks
  2. Bloomberg, Boston Scientific Mesh Verdict Halved by Judge to $34 Million
  3. Reuters, Damages slashed to $34.6 million in Boston Scientific mesh trial