Judge rules: Insufficient evidence given that pelvic mesh was defective

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After a week of testimony in the most recent case against pelvic mesh manufacturers, a federal judge ruled that there wasn't enough evidence to support that the devices were defective.Trial began last week in a case brought by women who said a particular kind of mesh used to treat stress urinary incontinence led to pain and permanent injury because of its defective design.In their opening statements, attorneys for the companies argued plaintiffs never complained about problems until after they filed lawsuits and said the product was not defective.In Tuesday's decision, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin granted judgment in favor of pelvic mesh manufacturers and dismissed the case.Carolyn Lewis, Kenneth Lewis, Augistina Brown-Singletary, Andre Singletary-Smith, Karin Harrison, Robert Harrison, Patricia Headrick, Darrell Headrick, Katie Uszler, Nick Uszler, Kelly Young and Kenneth Young originally filed the lawsuit in July 2012 in the Northern District of Texas.According to previous reports, Lewis received surgery in 2009, where doctors implanted the TVT, or transvaginal tape. The suit alleges because of the defective design of the product, Lewis experienced pain when she emptied her bladder and during sex.Tuesday, the last day of the civil jury trial, mesh manufacturers' attorneys made a motion for judgment, which Goodwin granted.Shortly after, the judge excused the jurors, according to court documents.
He ruled plaintiffs did not present enough information to support a defect in the device, according to documents. "This is a sound decision by the Court," Matthew Johnson, Ethicon U.S. spokesman, said in the company's news release. "While we are always concerned when a patient experiences an adverse medical condition, TVT continues to be a safe and effective option for women suffering from the debilitating effects of stress urinary incontinence."This is one of many other cases transferred to the Southern District of West Virginia as part of a larger federal multidistrict litigation. Goodwin is overseeing thousands of other similar cases.The first case initially ended in a mistrial last July after two days of testimony.In that case, Donna Cisson, 54, of Georgia, had a transvaginal mesh device implanted to help with some of her pelvic problems. However, her physician partially removed it after she began experiencing other difficulties.Cisson's case was against C.R. bard, a New Jersey-based mesh manufacturer. A jury awarded Cisson $2 million in that case. According to previous reports, $1.75 million was for punitive damages against Bard for failing to adequately inform doctors and patients of the possible complications of the device.In the second case, North Carolina resident Wanda Queen sued C.R. Bard after she was implanted with a device to help with pelvic organ prolapse. In this case, Queen also argued she suffered complications from the device.
A settlement was reached in this case.Contact writer Andrea Lannom at Andrea.Lannom@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/AndreaLannom.
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