The Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas recently reversed a $1.2 million jury verdict rendered against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly designing a defective pelvic mesh product.

Linda Batiste, who justices say has a “complex” medical history, filed suit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon, in Dallas County, alleging she was injured by the defendants’ polypropylene mesh.

A jury found the medical product, the TVT-Obturator, was defectively designed, awarding Batiste $1.2 million in damages, court records show. 

Johnson & Johnson appealed the judgment last July, arguing the trial court erroneously: excluded all FDA evidence; excluded evidence from independent physician organizations that contradicted the plaintiff’s theories of injury; and admitted evidence of other lawsuits and unverified issue reports.

On Nov. 5 Fifth Court justices found that Batiste was required to prove a specific defect in the TVT-O, and not simply the device itself, which is known to sometimes cause a number of complications.

“Because Batiste failed to offer legally sufficient evidence that any alleged defect in the TVT-O was the producing cause of her injuries, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and render judgment that Batiste take nothing,” the opinion states.

“Although Batiste alleged the TVT-O was defective based on its use of mechanically cut, heavyweight, small-pore mesh that was subject to degradation and particle loss, she failed to produce more than a scintilla of evidence that any of these alleged defects caused her injuries. Accordingly, the evidence is legally insufficient to support the jury’s verdict.”

According to the opinion, Batiste has a complex medical history. She has had nine abdominal surgeries, including two “C-sections,” two open abdominal procedures, and five laparoscopic procedures. In 2003, she had a stroke that left her disabled. She had a second stroke in 2007.

Due to spinal disease, she has undergone four surgeries in her lower back and one surgery in her neck. Following a heart attack, a stent was placed through her femoral artery to address a ninety-five percent blockage in her right coronary artery.

Batiste has also been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a result of smoking and suffers from poorly controlled diabetes.

The TVT-O was implanted to treat her stress urinary incontinence, the opinion states.

Johnson & Johnson is represented in part by Scott Stolley, attorney for the Dallas law firm Thompson & Knight.

Batiste is represented in part by Tim Goss of Freese & Goss, a Dallas firm.

Case No. January 31, 2006864-CV

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