New Jersey Court Quashes Appeal of $11 Million Judgment

New Jersey Court Quashes Appeal of $11 Million JudgmentOn December 7, 2016, the New Jersey Superior Court denied a petition for certification filed by attorneys for Johnson & Johnson, and its subsidiary, Ethicon, effectively upholding an $11 million judgment for a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging injuries suffered from a pelvic mesh implant.

The plaintiff, Linda Gross, of South Dakota, filed legal action against Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey in 2008, after she’d had three additional surgeries to remove the mesh and alleviate her pain. The mesh, made of plastic, is designed to be permanently implanted and was marketed to provide an internal support system for women with incontinence or pelvic organ prolapsed. Many patients who’d had the mesh implanted reported that it had the opposite effect—increasing their incontinence, causing severe pain and affecting their sex lives. To date, more than 80,000 women have sued Johnson & Johnson.

Gross’s lawsuit finally went to trial in 2013 and she was awarded $11 million in damages by the jury. Johnson & Johnson immediately appealed the verdict and judgment. The superior court concluded in March of 2016 that there was no basis for overturning the verdict. With respect to the damage award, the high court chose not to hear any arguments on the matter.

Ethicon had argued that its Prolift Pelvic Floor Repair System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The appellate judges noted, however, that the approval came under Section 510(k) of the Food and Drug Act, which does not require clinical trials of the actual product itself, but can allow for approval based on comparisons to similar products.

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