Mirena Lawsuits Will Be Consolidated
Women across the country who have suffered side effects from the intrauterine device (IUD) birch control Mirena are celebrating as a panel has ruled most federally-filed Mirena lawsuits should be consolidated. On April 8, the United States Judicial Panel (USJP) on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) signed a transfer order, centralizing cases in the Mirena MDL to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Specifically, the panel said lawsuits alleging the spontaneous migration of the device, perforation of the uterus, and/or the inadequacy of the warnings issued by Bayer with regard to these risks, will now be heard in the Southern District of New York. Some suits claim Bayer knowingly released a defective drug and failed to warn doctors and women about the potential risks. Over 40 lawsuits have been filed in 17 federal jurisdictions against Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Mirena. The first trial was scheduled to begin in May in South Carolina.
Mirena was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and is one of only three IUD’s approved for use in the United States. The small, plastic T-shaped device is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider, where it may remain for up to 5 years, releasing a low-dose of the synthetic progestin, levonorgestrel.
In the transfer order signed by Acting MDL Chairman Kathryn H. Vratil, the USJP noted that: “Transfer under [28 U.S.C.] Section 1407 will offer the benefit of placing all related actions before a single judge who can structure pretrial proceedings to accommodate all parties’ legitimate discovery needs while ensuring that common witnesses are not subjected to duplicative discovery demands.” The panel designated Judge Cathy Seibel to oversee the cases.
Bayer had opposed the consolidation of cases, stating that the consolidation would counteract the preparation and financial advancement the company had already invested in preparing for the first case in South Carolina. In addition, the company’s attorneys stated that consolidation would allow for weaker cases to be considered. Plaintiff’s lawyers have argued that consolidation would be more efficient as well as allow plaintiffs to share costs for pretrial preparations, costs they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Court documents also indicate that at least 47 Mirena lawsuits are also pending in New Jersey Superior Court. In August 2012, Bayer filed an application with the New Jersey Supreme Court seeking the establishment of a consolidated litigation for all Mirena IUD lawsuits filed in the state in Middlesex County. While the request was rejected, plaintiffs in those claims recently filed a new application with the court asking it to reconsider.
According to an AdverseEvents.com report, there have been more than 45,000 incidences of Mirena IUD complications submitted by women (not all of these women have filed lawsuits) who suffered issues such as:
- Embedment in the uterine wall
- Uterine perforations
- Intestinal perforations or obstruction
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Ectopic Pregnancy
The lawyers at Nolan Law Group are currently evaluating Mirena IUD cases. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury after using Mirena, please Contact Us or call 312-630-4000.