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Another Mirena Migration Lawsuit Joins MDL in Federal Court

Yet another Mirena migration lawsuit was filed late last month in federal court. The plaintiff, Margaret J. Ponce of North Carolina, brought the product liability suit against the makers of the intrauterine birth control device, or IUD, after the device she received in April, 2008 migrated outsider her uterus and had to be surgically removed in August, 2010.

Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals manufactures Mirena, a flexible plastic device that is implanted in the uterus and emits synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy, and introduced the product to the market in 2000. Mirena was marketed as a long-term contraceptive method that could remain in place in the uterus for up to five years. Currently, more than 15 million women worldwide use the intrauterine birth control device, including more than 2 million women in the U.S., making Mirena one of the most popular forms of hormonal birth control.

Allegations against the makers of Mirena

According to the complaint, there have been numerous reports of complications with the use of the IUD, including migration of the device, embedment in the wall of the uterus, and perforation of the uterine wall, which results in the need for Mirena surgical removal to extract the IUD from the abdomen. Ponce’s Mirena migration lawsuit alleges that Bayer is liable for her injuries, since the embedment and perforations are the result of a defective design of the device.

The lawsuit also claims that Bayer neglected to issue warnings about the risks associated with Mirena, even though it was aware of those complications, and that it concealed that important safety information from users, doctors, and government regulatory agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration.

Multidistrict Mirena litigation

Ponce’s case has been consolidated with other Mirena lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in an effort to centralize the proceedings, prevent duplicative evidence, and avoid conflicting pretrial rulings in similar cases. The process is called multidistrict litigation, or MDL. The Honorable Cathy Seibel is presiding over all of the federal Mirena lawsuits, many of which make similar claims.

Damages alleged in Mirena migration lawsuit

Ponce claims she suffered extensive economic damages as the result of the complications with her IUD and subsequent Mirena surgical removal, including lost wages, medical and hospital expenses and future costs associated severe and possibly permanent injuries, health care costs and medical monitoring, plus noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Specifically, Ponce alleges that Bayer is liable under several theories, including strict, or automatic, liabilities for a defective product design, a manufacturing defect, and a failure-to-warn defect, as well as negligence, fraud and misrepresentation, and breach of implied and express warranties.

Ponce’s Mirena migration lawsuit also claims that the IUD maker violated specific laws aimed at protecting consumers from fraud, and thus should be liable for punitive and exemplary damages in order to deter other companies from similar “flagrant disregard for human life.”