Consolidation of Mirena IUD Lawsuits
Owing to allegations of adverse IUD side effects, dozens of injured women have filed Mirena lawsuits in both state and federal courts, with many more expected in the coming months. At this point, none of the cases have gone to trial. On August 9, 2012, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals submitted an application with the Supreme Court of New Jersey requesting a consolidation of Mirena IUD lawsuits, specifically that the 16 lawsuits in New Jersey state courts be centralized in multi-county litigation (MCL). Bayer requested that the MCL be held in the Middlesex County Superior Court as the bulk of the claims that have been filed against the company are in Morris County – site of Bayer’s U.S. headquarters.
On January 2, 2013, Glenn Grant, the administrative director of the courts for New Jersey, stated that the court had denied Bayer’s petition for multi-county litigation of Mirena IUD lawsuits. The court advised that the Mirena product liability claims should continue to be filed in the appropriate venues and litigated individually.
New Jersey Court decides against consolidation of Mirena IUD lawsuits
Bayer Pharmaceuticals has been the target of multiple product liability lawsuits after women began alleging serious injuries from the Mirena IUD. Since the manufacturer’s headquarters are based in New Jersey, Mirena attorneys representing injured women started filing lawsuits in the state. Sixteen lawsuits had already been filed against Bayer Pharmaceuticals in courts throughout the state when the manufacturer submitted the application to centralize all of the cases in multi-county litigation, formerly referred to as a mass tort.
Bayer argued that consolidation of New Jersey Mirena IUD lawsuits under one judge would be more efficient. The company stated in its petition, “Centralized Management in a Mass Tort venue, with an experienced Judge, will help ensure fairness to the parties, provide a streamlined approach to case management and avoid the possibility of duplicative motion practice and inconsistent discovery rulings between multiple Judges in Morris County.”
When a large number of tort lawsuits are filed or expected to be filed against the same defendant(s) regarding similar legal issues and statements of fact related to a single product, the Supreme Court of New Jersey decides if it’s in the best interests of the judicial system and the parties involved if one judge presides over all of the cases. Having all of the cases handled in one court with one judge is often seen as an effective way to conserve judicial resources and coordinate legal proceedings.
Since Bayer Pharmaceuticals expected more complaints to be filed in the near future, the company petitioned to have all of the cases litigated in Middlesex County Superior Court. The Supreme Court of New Jersey did not indicate why it chose not to centralize the management of the Mirena IUD lawsuits.
Potential multidistrict litigation (MDL) of federal cases
Mirena injury lawsuits have also been lodged in federal courts across the nation. On January 16, 2013, Mirena plaintiffs petitioned the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to create a centralized docket for all federal cases alleging injuries caused by the IUD. The request, made by eight claimants with pending federal Mirena IUD lawsuits, asked that the multidistrict litigation (MDL) preside in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio, overseen by Judge Patricia A. Gaughan. Similar to an MCL or mass tort, which takes place on a state level, multidistrict litigation is intended to streamline pretrial proceedings, helping avoid inconsistent judicial rulings. Mirena IUD cases that are transferred to MDL would retain their individual status, and are litigated on a case by case basis.
Lawsuits allege Mirena IUD caused severe injuries
Mirena is an intrauterine device that releases levonorgestrel directly into a woman’s uterus. The IUD is advertised as being more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and lasts for up to 5 years. Since the FDA approved Mirena in 2000, the medical risks associated with the device has become a source of controversy and the subject of a growing number of lawsuits.
The Mirena IUD has been linked to the following complications:
- Perforation of the uterus
- Abnormal heavy bleeding
- Embeddment in the wall of the uterus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Intestinal obstruction
Mirena IUD attorneys
Women who have taken legal action after suffering complications from the Mirena IUD allege that Bayer Pharmaceuticals designed a defective product that is unreasonably dangerous. Their Mirena IUD attorneys claim that the manufacturer failed to conduct sufficient clinical safety trials prior to distributing the device. Bayer Pharmaceuticals is being charged with failing to adequately warn consumers and physicians about possible IUD side effects. Mirena attorneys are currently offering free case evaluations to help determine eligibility for filing a claim. Successful litigation may help victims recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earnings, emotional trauma and pain and suffering.
2.Notice to the Bar, Denial of Petition http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/notices/2013/n130108d.pdf