Yaz Class Action Certification Denied by MDL Judge

A federal judge has denied certification for a Yaz class action lawsuit, saying that claims over the birth control pill are too varied and rely on too many individual circumstances to allow them to go forward as one class action suit. As a result, each individual will be required to pursue their own Yaz lawsuit, which will continue to be coordinated in federal court as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). 

Judge David R. Herndon issued an opinion on May 4, denying a request to certify a national class action for users injured by Yaz birth control and striking class action allegations. The class action was requested by a Louisiana woman who claims to have suffered a deep vein thrombosis from Yaz.

Bayer moved to have the class action claims thrown out in December, arguing that plaintiffs’ claims against Yaz, and a similar oral contraceptive known as Yasmin, involve individualized questions of fact that cannot be addressed by a class action lawsuit.

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In a class action lawsuit, one case is brought on behalf of a large group of people who have suffered common injuries. The case is then litigated through the class representative.

Bayer currently faces about 7,000 lawsuits over Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills. Although the cases have been consolidated and centralized for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, each claim remains and individual lawsuit and each plaintiff must meet the burden of proof in establishing that their injuries were caused by the use of the birth control pill. If a Yaz settlement agreement is not reached in the litigation, each of the plaintiff will have the opportunity to present their claim to a jury.

All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that women taking the birth control pills suffered serious health problems from Yaz, Yasmin or similar birth control pills, including blood clots, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, heart attack and gallbladder injuries.

In the federal MDL, a small group of cases have been selected for early trials, known as bellwether cases. These early Yaz trials will be used by the parties to gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of the cases. The first trial, involving a pulmonary embolism from Yaz, is expected to begin early next year.


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