Settlement Agreements Reached in 1,444 Yaz, Yasmin Lawsuits

After beginning settlement negotiations earlier this year in lawsuits filed by women who suffered certain blood clot-related injuries allegedly caused by side effects of Yaz and Yasmin birth control, Bayer has reportedly reached agreements with about 33 different law firms to resolve at least 1,444 cases.

Bayer faces more than 14,000 Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits filed by women throughout the United States. The claims involve a number of different alleged injuries, including pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, strokes and gallbladder injuries.

All federal cases have been centralized for pretrial proceedings before Chief Judge David R. Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, where the lawsuits are consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

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According to the minutes from a status conference held before Judge Herndon on June 22, the parties updated the Court on the status of the Yaz settlement negotiations and indicated that they continue to engage in good faith negotiations to resolve cases.

An original scheduling order in the MDL called for a series of three bellwether trials to be held, with two of the claims involving a venous thromboembolism, such as women who suffered a DVT or pulmonary embolism, and a third trial involving a plaintiff who alleges that she suffered a gallbladder injury from Yaz or Yasmin.

Less than two weeks before the first trial was set to begin in January 2012, Judge Herndon postponed the trial dates and ordered the parties to engage in negotiations to settle the lawsuits.

Given the continuing progress made in the settlement negotiations, Judge Herndon indicated during the status conference that there are not going to be any bellwether cases in the MDL involving venous thrombotic injuries. It is unclear at this time how the cases involving gallbladder injuries will be allowed to proceed, but they remain stayed at this time.

Although the exact break down of the injuries alleged among the cases in the MDL has not been confirmed, according to estimates provided in court records in October 2010, approximately 40% to 41% of cases filed at that time involved a DVT or pulmonary embolism. Approximately 10% of the cases involved a heart attack or stroke from Yaz, and about 43% involved claims for a gallbladder injury from Yaz.

Bayer is negotiating claims in small groups with certain law firms, after a case-specific analysis of medical records.

According to information provided in Bayer’s First Quarter 2012 Stockholder’s newsletter, the company is only settling lawsuits involving a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis injury at this time.

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) involves a blood clot that occurs in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis.  A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot breaks off, travels through the blood stream and becomes lodged near the lung.

Despite the continuing settlement negotiations, Yaz and Yasmin lawyers continue to review new claims for women who have suffered various blood clot injuries after using the birth control pills.


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