On Thursday, May 28, 2015, a Delaware State Court jury held that Boston Scientific Corporation must pay $100 million to 52-year-old Delaware resident, Deborah Barba, who claimed permanent injury resulting from the company’s vaginal mesh inserts. The award included $25 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The jury’s award came at the conclusion of a two-week trial and seven hours of deliberation.
Barba, a former bank teller, who was implanted in 2009 with the company’s Pinnacle and Advantage Fit inserts to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, claimed that her inserts eroded after implantation, scarring her vagina and causing a number of other health problems. Despite enduring two surgeries in an attempt to remove the devices and fix the problems they caused, Barba still has portions of the device inside her and remains in chronic pain and unable to have sex. The jury found that the mesh devices were defectively designed and, further, that company executives committed fraud by hiding the true risks of the device from doctors and patients.
The verdict is the largest against Boston Scientific and surpasses the 2014 Texas verdict awarding $73 million in a case involving the company’s Obtryx sling. Commentators noted the strong message the jury’s verdict conveyed, particularly given Delaware’s business-friendly reputation and the fact that nearly half of the U.S. public companies are incorporated within its borders.
Although Boston Scientific prevailed in the first two trials involving its transvaginal mesh products, the verdict is now the sixth one against it and comes just weeks after the company announced it would pay $119 million to resolve approximately 3,000 such claims. Following the verdict, a Boston Scientific spokesperson announced that the company planned to file an appeal.
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