Mirena Birth Control Cases Selected For Second Round of Bellwether Trials in MDL
The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Mirena birth control lawsuits has selected five cases that will be part of a second round of “bellwether” trials, which will be used to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout hundreds of complaints filed by women nationwide.
Mirena is a long-acting form of birth control, known as an IUD or intrauterine device, which is implanted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to five years. However, many women have experienced Mirena complications where the IUD perforated the uterus or moved out of position, causing severe internal injuries.
Since April 2013, all product liability lawsuits filed over Mirena 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 as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
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As of June 15, at least 1,171 cases were pending before Judge Seibel for consolidated for discovery. About 2,000 more cases are pending in New Jersey state court, where similar centralized proceedings have been established before one judge as part of an MCL, or Multi-County Litigation.
As part of the coordinated proceedings in both New Jersey state court and the federal court system, several representative “bellwether” cases are expected to go before juries early next year.
In an order (PDF) issued July 1, Judge Seibel identified five randomly selected cases that will be included in a second round of bellwether trials. It is expected that a trial schedule will be announced for this second round of bellwether cases next month.
While the outcomes of these trials are not binding on other lawsuits, they may help the parties reach Mirena settlements to resolve large numbers of cases and avoid the need for hundreds of separate trials to be scheduled throughout the country.
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