Second Group of Mirena IUD Lawsuits to be Prepared for Trial in MDL

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Mirena birth control lawsuits has ordered that a second group of cases involving injuries allegedly caused by the intrauterine device (IUD) be prepared for early trial dates in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Since April 2013, all Mirena IUD cases filed throughout the federal court system have been centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in the Southern District of New York to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to hold a series of “bellwether” trials, which are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.

The Mirena IUD is a small, plastic, T-shaped implant that is inserted into the uterus to protect against pregnancy for up to five years. However, many women have experienced problems where the Mirena birth control moved out of place months or even years after it was inserted.

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Mirena Lawsuits

Migrations and perforations caused by Mirena birth control have resulted in lawsuits nationwide.

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All of the complaints involve similar claims brought by women who allege that Bayer Healthcare failed to adequately warn about the risk of Mirena IUD complications, where the implanted birth control spontaneously perforated the uterus and migrated to other areas of the body, causing serious and sometimes devastating internal injuries.

There are currently more than 1,200 Mirena IUD lawsuits centralized before Judge Seibel in the MDL, with a small group of cases being prepared for trial in late 2016.

In a case management order (PDF) issued on April 20, Judge Seibel ordered plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys to select five additional cases each to be part of a second disposition pool, with five more cases that will be selected at random by the court. This second group of bellwether lawsuits will then go through case-specific discovery for a round of “bellwether” trials that may be ready to begin by late 2016 or early 2017.

Judge Seibel has ordered that initial selections for the second case pool be identified by July 2. The second batch will then be whittled down to just four cases by March 2016, and Judge Seibel will set a trial schedule for those cases by August 2016, according to the court order.

In addition to the lawsuits over Mirena IUD pending in the federal MDL, there are also about 2,000 cases pending in New Jersey state court, which is where Bayer’s U.S. headquarters are located. Similar centralized proceedings have been established in New Jersey, where the state court litigation is consolidated before Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Bergen County as part of a Multi-County Litigation, or MCL.

Another bellwether program has been established in New Jersey, where a small group of cases are also being prepared to go before state juries beginning in early 2016.

While the outcomes of these early trial dates are not binding on any other cases, they are used to help the parties determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of their arguments and may lead to eventual Mirena IUD settlements that avoid the need for hundreds of individual trial dates.


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