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Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals is asking the New Jersey Supreme court to centralize all state court lawsuits filed over their Mirena IUD birth control before one judge for centralized handling.
There are currently at least 16 product liability lawsuits filed against Bayer in New Jersey state court by individuals who have experienced problems with Mirena, where the small T-shaped birth control device perforated the uterine wall, migrated outside of the uterus or caused other complications when it became misplaced.
On August 9, Bayer sent an Application for Centralized Management (PDF) to Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of New Jersey courts, calling for the creation of a Mirena “mass tort” in the state.
All of the complaints are currently pending in Morris County Superior Court, but the manufacturer indicates that there are another seven cases pending in various other states.
Mirena IUD Problems
The Mirena IUD is a birth control device that is implanted in the uterus for up to five years. It is supposed to be easily removable and is promoted as a way to free woman from worrying about birth control.
Placement is designed to prevent pregnancy by keeping the sperm from the egg, and the device also releases levonorgestrel, a progestin designed to keep a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs for fertilization.
Mirena was first introduced by Bayer in 2000, and was promoted as a hassle-free form of birth control. However, women and their doctors have reported problems with the Mirena migrating from its initial implant location, perforating the uterus and other organs, causing infections and abscesses, and leaving women unknowingly unprotected against the chance of pregnancy.
Lawsuits allege that Bayer failed to properly research the risk of Mirena side effects before aggressively marketing the IUD and failed to adequately warn women or the medical community about the risk of complications.
Mounting Mirena Litigation in New Jersey State Court
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey and the company indicates that they expect a large number of lawsuits to be filed in the state.
In their request for centralized management of the Mirena litigation, Bayer indicates that a number law firms are running advertisements for potential cases and have indicated their intentions to file additional cases.
Bayer argues in its request that centralization will be convenient for all parties. “Centralized Management in a Mass Tort venue, with an experienced Judge, will help ensure fairness to the parties, provide a streamlined approach to case management and avoid the possibility of duplicative motion practice and inconsistent discovery rulings between multiple Judges in Morris County,” the company’s request states.
The 16 pending cases in Morris County, New Jersey have been brought on behalf of more than 24 plaintiffs, all of whom reside outside of the state. Therefore, Bayer argues that this geographical diversity makes Centralized Management necessary for the efficient handling of the Mirena litigation.