The issue of product liability is one that Berkowitz and Hanna LLC litigates routinely. Product liability falls under the umbrella of tort law, and the premise is straightforward: the manufacturer or vendor of a product owes a duty of care to the consumer who buys and uses said product. In recent years, there has been a bevy of product liability cases against various manufacturers of transvaginal mesh and bladder sling products used for repair of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The latest in a series of vaginal mesh bellwether trials resulted in a $73.4 million-dollar jury verdict against the Massachusetts-based manufacturer Boston Scientific in Texas state court.
In cases of this nature, high dollar verdicts are par for the course, but this particular award is the largest to date in a series of similar cases. Martha Salazar, a 42-year-old property manager, stated that she suffered great pain and was unable to sit or walk normally after being implanted with the Obtryx mesh sling intended to treat mild incontinence. Instead of finding relief, she suffered internal injuries that resulted in 42 additional procedures and four major surgeries. When a product is proven defective and when it is determined that the product defect has caused someone bodily harm, the law can be quite unforgiving.
A Texas jury found that Boston Scientific acted with gross negligence and thus awarded Ms. Salazar $53 million in punitive damages and $23 million in compensatory damages. Although Boston Scientific denies liability and will no doubt appeal this verdict, it faces 23,000 additional mesh lawsuits.
Note: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any parties in this case.