Appeals court upholds $19m Boston Scientific loss in pelvic mesh case

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Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) has lost another bid as it looked to overturn an $18.5 million loss in a product liability suit over alleged injuries caused by its Obtryx pelvic mesh.

A jury in West Virginia federal court in November 2014 found Boston Scientific liable to 4 women following a 10-day trial; the trial judge later ordered the Marlborough, Mass.-based company to pay each of the 4 women damages ranging from $3.25 million to $4.25 million (the 4th plaintiff later settled her case out of court and it was dismissed).

In its appeal, Boston Scientific argued that the court’s decision to consolidate the four cases into a single trial created potential prejudice and confusion amongst the jury.

The appeals court disagreed, saying that “BSC lacks evidence that the district court’s safeguards were inadequate or that consolidation in fact resulted in any prejudice or jury confusion.”

“Instead, it asks us to infer jury confusion based on the similarities of the damages awarded to each plaintiff. Attempting to reverse engineer the jury’s thought processes based on its verdicts is always a dangerous enterprise, because we have no way of knowing what really happened during jury deliberations,” the court wrote, according to official documents. “Here, there is little reason to be suspicious of the verdicts given that BSC had a chance to fully develop its defenses and that the judge properly instructed the jury throughout the trial to keep the cases separate. What is more, the four plaintiffs did not receive identical damage awards, but instead received damages that varied by $1 million across plaintiffs. That the total damages awards were of the same order of magnitude appears to reflect the very similarities between the cases that justified consolidation in the first place.”

Appeals court judges agreed with the district court ruling, saying that it was “well within its discretion in consolidating these four cases for trial,” according to court documents.

Boston Scientific lost another bid looking to overturn the case in October 2016 after arguing that the plaintiffs failed to show that Obtryx is not reasonably safe because it’s within the standard of care for stress urinary incontinence.

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