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Harris v. Boston Scientific Corp.

Superior Court of Delaware

January 2, 2018

PAULA HARRIS Plaintiff,
v.
BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORPORATION (d/b/a MANSFIELD SCIENTIFIC, INC. & MICROVASIVE INC.), Defendant.

          Submitted: October 16, 2017

          Robert J. Leoni, Esq., Shelsby & Leoni PA, Christine V. Clarke, Esq., Chris A. Gomez, Esq., Kline & Specter, PC Attorneys for Plaintiff Paula Harris

          Colleen D. Shields, Esq., Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC Attorneys for Defendant Boston Scientific Corporation

          CORRECTED OPINION

          THE HONORABLE MARY M. JOHNSTON JUDGE.

         PROCEDURAL CONTEXT

         Before the Court are post-trial motions in a products liability case. Plaintiff Paula Harris alleged that Defendant Boston Scientific Corporation ("Boston Scientific") designed, manufactured, distributed, and sold a pelvic mesh device, the "Lynx, " that injured Harris. After a nine-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Boston Scientific.

         Harris now brings Motions for a New Trial and to Set Aside Verdict. She argues that the verdict went against the great weight of the evidence and that various Court rulings prejudiced the jury against Harris.

         MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL STANDARD

         To warrant granting a motion for a new trial, "the verdict must be manifestly and palpably against the weight of the evidence or for some reason, or combination of reasons, justice would miscarry if it were allowed to stand."[1] Delaware law gives great deference to jury verdicts.[2] "In the face of any reasonable difference of opinion, courts will yield to the jury's decision."[3] When the court considers a motion for a new trial, "there is a presumption that the jury verdict is correct."[4]

         ANALYSIS

         The Jury's Verdict Was Not Against the Great Weight of the Evidence

         Harris argues that the jury's verdict was contrary to the great weight of evidence in two respects. First, she claims the great weight of the evidence showed the Lynx was unreasonably dangerous, based primarily on testimony that the Lynx's complication rate was 4.2%. Second, Harris claims the great weight of the evidence showed that Boston Scientific acted unreasonably in the design, distribution, and sale of the Lynx device, because of evidence regarding the marketing and testing of the Lynx.

         Evidence that the Lynx's complication rate was 4.2% did not require the jury to find that the device was unreasonably dangerous. The jury heard evidence that the 4.2% figure only represented the occurrence of vaginal erosion generally, while other experts opined that the risk the device posed for the injury Harris actually suffered-urethral erosion-was less than 1 %.

         Evidence that Boston Scientific did not perform clinical trials prior to placing the Lynx on the market is also not dispositive of whether the Lynx was unreasonably dangerous; or of whether Boston Scientific was negligent in the design, distribution, and sale of the Lynx. The jury heard extensive testimony as to whether it was reasonable for Boston Scientific to rely on the results of other similar products' clinical testing before selling the Lynx. The jury considered the weight to ...


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