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Conference Scheduled for Mirena Lawsuit MCL

Many plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against Bayer Pharmaceuticals regarding the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD). Often, when a large number of lawsuits that share commonalities are filed against the same defendants, consolidation of the lawsuits offers a means of more effective coordination. Such is the case with many Mirena lawsuits filed in New Jersey. In May 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided to centralize all lawsuits filed by Mirena plaintiffs in the state. This multicounty litigation (MCL) is proceeding under the direction of Superior Court Judge Brian R. Martinotti.

Characteristics of MCL

A multicounty litigation is a type of mass litigation. It is nearly identical to a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in that both types of litigation require that the cases share common allegations and factual statements, and that they are filed against the same defendants. With both types of litigation, all plaintiffs still have the right to an individual trial by jury, yet pretrial proceedings are shared in order to accelerate the litigation process and share resources.

The key difference between an MCL and an MDL is that an MDL consolidates federal lawsuits across the nation, whereas an MCL consolidates lawsuits within a particular state – in this case, New Jersey.

Bayer filed the consolidation request

The defendants had petitioned for the centralization in August 2012, at which time about 16 lawsuits had been filed against Bayer in New Jersey. The original request for centralization was denied. The low number of lawsuits was cited as the reason for the denial. However, by March 2013, the number of Mirena lawsuits filed in New Jersey had risen to at least 60. The plaintiffs petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court to consolidate the complaints into a Mirena lawsuit MCL. This request was approved on May 24, 2013.

Initial conference scheduled

In the latest update from the Mirena MCL, the parties will meet for an initial conference on June 17, 2013. The conference is expected to review whether any parties have attempted to settle the lawsuits. The parties will also discuss a plan for the discovery process, and have been ordered to submit witness lists and proposed schedules prior to the initial conference.

Common complaints of Mirena lawsuits

Mirena was first approved by the FDA in 2000 as a birth control device. The IUD works by releasing hormones for up to five years. However, patients and healthcare professionals have become increasingly alarmed about the potential for significant Mirena IUD complications. The Mirena lawsuits in the New Jersey MCL allege that Bayer failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about the risks. These plaintiffs allegedly suffered from uterine perforation and migration of the device.

Uterine perforation can occur when the device shifts over time or at the time that it is implanted by a doctor. Uterine perforation can result in complications such as infection, development of scar tissue, infertility, and adhesions. Additionally, the Mirena device can continue to migrate away from its original position, and can perforate blood vessels and other nearby organs, including the intestines, bladder, or bowel.

In addition to organ damage, some women have cited the need for a hysterectomy following use of the device.