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With a growing number of Paragard IUD lawsuits being filed throughout the federal court system by women who experienced painful complications when the device fractured or broke as the birth control implant was being removed, plaintiffs have filed a request to centralize the litigation before one U.S. District Judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
ParaGard is a copper intrauterine device (IUD), which is implanted into the uterus to provide long-term birth control up to 10 years. It involves a T-shaped plastic frame that is wrapped in copper wire coils, which is designed to produce an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm and prevents pregnancy.
While the copper IID is intended to be easily removable and allow women to conceive after it is explanted, dozens of lawsuits are now being filed by women who indicate that the Paragard broke during explant procedures, causing severe internal injuries and often resulting in the need for a total hysterectomy or other invasive surgical procedures that impact their ability to have children in the future.
There are currently at least 55 complaints pending in 29 different U.S. District Courts nationwide, each involving nearly identical allegations that the Paragard IUD is unreasonably dangerous and defective, since it is prone to fracturing during removal in some cases.
In a motion to transfer (PDF) filed on September 24, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) was asked to centralize cases brought throughout the federal court system before one judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for pretrial proceedings to avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts, avoid duplicative discovery and serve the convenience of common witnesses, parties and the judicial system.
The motion notes that the cases are closely related, share the same Defendants and theories of liability, and none of the cases have made substantial progress towards trial.
“In this instance, transfer, coordination and consolidation is appropriate because many common questions of fact and law exist, including but not limited to the following: whether ParaGard was defectively designed; whether the ParaGard lots at issue contained manufacturing defects; whether ParaGard was marketed with an adequate label; whether Defendants conducted adequate pharmacovigilance of ParaGard; and whether Defendants engaged in negligent conduct resulting in Plaintiffs’ injuries,” the motion states.
The manufacturer has not yet responded to the motion, but the U.S. JPML is likely to consider oral argument from various parties involved during an upcoming hearing session scheduled for December 3, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.