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In a lawsuit filed late last month, a Florida woman indicates that dangerous defects caused a Paragard IUD to break during removal of the birth control implant, leaving pieces inside her body that will need to be retrieved through a surgical procedure.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Stacy Guzman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on February 26, where more than 100 similar claims are currently centralized as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Each of the Paragard lawsuits raise similar allegations that Teva Pharmaceuticals and CooperSurgical, Inc. sold a dangerous and defective intrauterine device (IUD), which is prone to break during removal, even when doctors follow the proper instructions provided by the manufacturers.
Paragard IUD is a T-shaped plastic device wrapped in copper, which is placed in the uterus to provide women long-active protection against pregnancy for up to ten years. However, it is intended to be easily reversible, with doctors able to remove the IUD during an office procedure when a woman no longer wants the birth control.
According to the lawsuit, Guzman was implanted with a ParaGard IUD in November 2016, since she wanted a form of reversible birth control. However, when Guzman sought to have the Paragard removed in July 2020, during what she believed would be a simple, non-surgical procedure, the IUD broke inside her body. The broken debris from the ParaGard is currently still inside Guzman’s body, and will have to be removed through a surgical procedure, she has been told.
“The ParaGard IUD was marketed heavily by Defendants as being safe and effective, and promising fewer side effects than other birth control methods,” Guzman’s lawsuit states. “The marketing and promotional efforts of Defendants, their advertisers, and sales force served to overstate the benefits of ParaGard IUD and minimize and downplay the risks. These promotional efforts were made while Defendants fraudulently withheld important safety information from health care providers and the public.”
Guzman indicates the defendants knew or should have known the dangers of the ParaGard IUD and the removal problems long before she agreed to have the device implanted in November 2016, but information about the risks was withheld from consumers and the medical community.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in similar complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the litigation is currently centralized before U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May in the Northern District of Georgia, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
As part of the coordinated management of the litigation, it is expected Judge May will establish a “bellwether” process, where a small group of representative claims will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be presented throughout other cases.
While the outcome for these early trials would not be binding on other plaintiffs, they may facilitate ParaGard IUD settlements. which would avoid the need for dozens, or possibly hundreds, of additional trials to be scheduled throughout the federal court system.