Judge Goodwin Denies Ethicon’s Post-trial Motions, Huskey Verdict Stands
Today Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia denied Defendant Ethicon, Inc.’s Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial in Huskey v. Ethicon (Case No. 12-cv-05201, S.D. W.V.). This case was tried on behalf of Jo Huskey and her husband Allan Huskey to a jury over nine days in August 2014. Ed Wallace of Wexler Wallace, Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice LLC and Jeff Kuntz of Wagstaff & Cartmell, led this case on behalf of the Huskey family.
A unanimous eight-person jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs on September 5, 2014, and awarded them $3.27M in damages. At issue was Ethicon’s TVT-O product, a pelvic mesh device used to treat stress urinary incontinence. The jury found against the defendant on all claims, including failure to warn, design defect, negligence, and loss of consortium.
This was the first trial to go to verdict in the Ethicon MDL pending in Charleston, West Virginia, and was the first verdict involving a transvaginal sling mesh in federal court. Presently, the Ethicon MDL is the largest in the country with more than 26,000 cases.
“We look forward to upholding the jury’s verdict through Ethicon’s inevitable appeal. We hope at some point, however, Ethicon actually listens to the jury and their resounding verdict in favor of Jo Huskey and women everywhere who were injured by Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh,” said Wexler Wallace partner Edward Wallace.
Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, asked the court for a directed verdict, or in the alternative, a new trial on the grounds that: the jury’s findings were against the clear weight of the evidence; the court should have given the jury an instruction based on comment K; and the court’s evidentiary rulings prejudiced Ethicon. Judge Goodwin rejected all arguments—holding that Ethicon had not demonstrated that the jury’s unanimous verdict was unreasonable or that any grievous error had occurred. To the contrary, Judge Goodwin commented on the particular strength of plaintiffs’ design defect claim; stating: “The evidence on the defective design claim is particularly strong and is capable of upholding the verdict on its own.”
Wexler Wallace continues to pursue this litigation on behalf of hundreds of other plaintiffs who were harmed by Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh products.