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A New Jersey jury has awarded $3.35 million to a former nurse who says Johnson & Johnson's vaginal mesh implant caused severe chronic pain despite 18 unsuccessful repair surgeries.

It's the first verdict in about 4,000 lawsuits filed against the health products maker. At least one plaintiff has won a lawsuit against another maker of the once-popular implants, used to lift sagging pelvic organs back into place.

The Atlantic City jury awarded the compensatory damages to Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, S.D. Her attorney says complications forced the former nurse to stop working shortly after the surgery.

A spokeswoman said J&J is concerned when patients suffer complications, but that that's a risk with all such pelvic surgeries.

The jury is to deliberate on possible punitive damages starting Tuesday.

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