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Mirena IUD Bellwether Cases to Be Selected

mirena iud injury lawsuitsThe U.S. District Judge presiding over the Mirena IUD injury lawsuits that were centralized into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) recently issued a new order. On April 9, 2014, Judge Cathy Seibel issued the order to establish the procedure for selecting bellwether cases. In an MDL, bellwether cases are the initial complaints to go to trial.

The lawsuits consolidated under MDL share similar allegations and statements of fact. They also share pretrial proceedings. Since evidence used in the bellwether trials could also be used in other Mirena trials, the bellwether cases serve as valuable assessment tools. The involved parties can evaluate how the juries react to certain testimony and evidence.

The bellwether trials also serve another purpose. Should they result in significant jury awards, the defendants, Bayer, may be more apt to discuss Mirena lawsuit settlement offers with the plaintiffs. Sometimes, significant numbers of lawsuits in an MDL are settled. The remaining cases will be remanded back to their home districts for trial.

Judge’s order establishes selection process

The order issued by Judge Seibel did not select the specific cases that will be tried first. Rather, it established the protocols for selection. The Initial Deposition Pool will consist of 24 Mirena IUD injury lawsuits. The plaintiffs and the defendants will submit 12 cases each no later than June 3, 2014. Then, each party will have the opportunity to strike six cases from the list proposed by the opposing party. This will occur by June 17.

The parties will attend a conference on May 14, during which they are expected to consider whether certain cases should not be considered for the Initial Deposition Pool. In her order, Judge Seibel wrote, “The Court expects the parties to exercise good faith in selecting cases for potential inclusion in the Initial Disposition Pool, and to not select cases presenting unique or idiosyncratic facts that would render the results of these cases unenlightening.”

Although the MDL is slowly moving forward with the selection of the bellwether cases, the litigation process is expected to take quite a while before the parties can enjoy resolution. A previously issued order noted that case-specific pretrial proceedings may not be completed until July 2015. It is possible that the first bellwether case will not go to trial until late in 2015.

Plaintiffs claim Bayer gave misleading warnings

The Mirena IUD injury lawsuits were all filed against Bayer with regard to its birth control system, the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD). Following its introduction to the market in 2000, a slew of complaints were lodged with the FDA regarding its alleged substandard safety. In fact, over 70,000 adverse events have been reported to the FDA. Many complaints centralized into the MDL allege that the device migrated out of its proper position, sometimes puncturing the uterus and causing significant complications.

The defendants argued that they did indeed warn consumers about the risk of possible migration and uterine perforation. However, the plaintiffs claim that these warnings were misleading and inadequate, since the labeling information stated the device could cause injury when the device was inserted by the doctor. However, many patients have reported spontaneous migration at some point after the insertion.

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  2. Newsweek, The Courtroom Controversy Behind Popular Contraceptive Mirena,