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J&J Jury Reaches No Verdict After Fourth Day in Mesh Case

A New Jersey jury failed to reach a verdict in its fourth day of deliberation over a lawsuit claiming Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit defectively designed a vaginal mesh implant and failed to warn properly of the risks.

Jurors will return on Feb. 25 to weigh the case of Linda Gross, 47, a South Dakota nurse whose lawsuit is the first of 2,100 to go to trial over claims that Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift injured women. The panel of six women and three men began deliberating on Feb. 19 in state court in Atlantic City.

Gross had 18 operations after her mesh was implanted to shore up pelvic muscles. The Prolift, made of a polypropylene mesh, was inserted through an incision in the vagina.

J&J, the world’s biggest seller of health-care products, claims the Prolift is safe and effective, and it warned of the risks. In August, J&J stopped selling four mesh devices in the U.S., including the Prolift. The company, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said in June that it would end sales worldwide because of the products’ lack of commercial viability, and not based on their safety and effectiveness.

Gross is seeking $3.38 million for lost earnings and past and future medical expenses. She also is asking for damages for pain and suffering.

Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee hasn’t ruled yet whether Gross can seek punitive damages if jurors award her compensatory damages. New Jersey caps punitive damages at five times compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is higher.

The trial began on Jan. 10.

The case is Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10, Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey (Atlantic City).

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