$2M Vaginal Mesh Verdict in West Virginia
C.R. Bard, Inc. was hit with a jury verdict of $2 million on August 15, 2013 in a vaginal mesh case. The case was tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Unanimous jury findings included that plaintiff had proven her design defect and failure to warn claims and that Bard did not prove its assumption of the risk defense. The jury awarded the injured plaintiff $250,000 in compensatory damages. Perhaps most notably the jury found that punitive damages were appropriate, awarding $1,750,000. The trial lasted 13 days and was one of four bellwethers in the West Virginia litigation. The claims against Bard include that the use of pig-skin collagen and polypropylene in the products increased the likelihood of complications once implanted. The case Cisson et al v. C.R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00195, will likely go up on appeal.
Manufacturers and distributors that face exposure to vaginal mesh claims should take note of this verdict as it will affect the evaluation of similar claims, especially in that venue. Future plaintiff and defense cases will likely focus heavily on any punitive damage component given the breakdown of compensatory versus punitive damages in the Cisson case.