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Canadian Woman Seeks Certification of Mirena Class Action Lawsuit

A woman in Halifax, Nova Scotia filed suit against Bayer on April 23, 2013 and requested certification of the suit as a class action.  If granted, the Mirena class action lawsuit will proceed on behalf of the plaintiff and of all of the women in Canada who claim to have suffered similar personal injury as a result of the Mirena intrauterine device, or IUD.  The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and requests that Bayer provide a special fund for all users of the Mirena IUD to receive monitoring and medical treatment to decrease the potential harm from the device.

Plaintiff suffers Mirena IUD side effects

In December of 2010, the plaintiff was implanted with the Mirena IUD as a means of birth control.  The IUD is recommended for women who have already been pregnant, and so the plaintiff, who had two children already, did not expect complications.  Contrary to the plaintiff’s reasonable expectation, she became pregnant in 2012, and her pregnancy was unusual in that she felt abnormal pain.  An ultrasound examination confirmed that the Mirena IUD had perforated her uterus, causing tissue damage and had migrated to the lower area of her cervix.  As a result, the plaintiff was required to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the device and prevent further complications.

The lawsuit alleges that Bayer concealed information about the risks of Mirena IUD side effects and serious adverse events.  The suit also says that the Mirena label did not warn that the device could move out of place spontaneously, as occurred in the plaintiff’s case.  As a result of this risk of spontaneous IUD migration, the suit claims that women who have the Mirena implanted need more regular monitoring than would otherwise be the case, and that Bayer has a duty to provide for this monitoring since the company’s misconduct exposed Mirena users to the risk.  According to the plaintiff, she did not file a Mirena class action lawsuit out of financial interest, but out of a desire to raise awareness, help other Mirena users, and warn other women about the dangers involved with the Mirena IUD.

Mirena multidistrict litigation (MDL) established in New York

On April 8, 2013, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred seven Mirena lawsuits to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.  Multidistrict litigation, or MDL, is a procedure in which a number of federal lawsuits are consolidated before a single judge for the purposes of sharing information before the cases go to trial.  MDL may also encourage parties to settle and the presiding judge usually takes steps to promote a settlement rather than a series of lengthy trials.  As of May 15, a total of 46 cases with similar allegations against Bayer were coordinated in New York federal court.

Like the Canadian Mirena class action lawsuit, the complaints in the New York products liability MDL are alleging uterine perforation and related injuries as a result of defect in the design and manufacture of the Mirena IUD, as well as concealment of information about the risks and dangers of Mirena IUD side effects.