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With a growing number of Mirena IUD lawsuits filed nationwide on behalf of women who have suffered a dangerous buildup of intracranial fluid pressure on the brain, known as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) or idiopathic intracanial hypertension (IIH), another request has been filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking to centralize the cases before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Mirena is a small, T-shaped birth control device, which is implanted into the uterus to provide protection against pregnancy for up to five years. Known as an intrauterine device (IUD) or intrauterine system (IUS), the polyethylene frame for Mirena contains a steroid reservoir that release levonorgestrel, which is a second generation progestin used in many forms of birth control.
More than 100 women nationwide have filed Mirena intracranial hypertension lawsuits against Bayer, alleging that the manufacturer failed to warn women that the IUD may cause a dangerous build up of fluid around the brain, which can cause severe headaches, dizziness, nausea and irreversible vision loss.
Since 2013, consolidated pretrial proceedings have been established in the federal court system for Mirena claims involving migration or perforation injuries. However, that federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) has excluded cases involving the development of intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri.
In August 2014, the U.S. JPML rejected a request to establish a second Mirena MDL for intracranial hypertension lawsuits, indicating that too few cases existed at that time to justify centralized proceedings. However, since that time, a growing number of complaints have been filed by Mirena intracranial hypertension lawyers nationwide, with the number of cases increasing rapidly over the past year.
Last week, a new motion to transfer (PDF) was filed by a group of plaintiffs, renewing the request to establish a separate MDL for cases filed by women who suffered levonorgestral-induced intracranial hypertension after a Mirena IUD was implanted.
In complex litigation, where a large number of plaintiffs allege similar injuries were caused by the same medication or medical device, it is common for coordinated pretrial proceedings to be established to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of witnesses, parties and the judicial system.
According to the new request, there are now at least 116 substantially similar cases pending in 17 different U.S. District Courts, and the number of claims is expected to continue to increase throughout 2017.
“Each of these actions assert virtually identical claims against the same defendants, the Bayer entities, for the same injury, the development of IH, caused by the same product, Mirena,” the motion states. “While the number of filed cases is substantial, the filed cases represent only a small sample of the cases that are expected to be filed against Bayer by women alleging that Mirena LNG-IUS caused them to develop IH. This product has been used by more than 15 million women worldwide.”
The motion calls for the cases to be consolidated in the Southern District of Mississippi.