Yaz Lawsuit Bellwether Trials Set to Begin September 2011
The selection process for the first Yasmin and Yaz lawsuit trials in the federal MDL has begun, with trial dates set for three bellwether cases to begin between September 2011 and April 2012.
A Case Management Order was issued last week by Chief Judge David R. Herndon, who is presiding over all federal Yaz lawsuit, Yasmin lawsuit and Ocella lawsuit claims that have been filed against Bayer Healthcare over side effects of their popular birth control pills. Thousands of lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the United States have been consolidated before Judge Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
All of the lawsuits involve allegations that women taking the birth control pills suffered serious health problems from Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella. Approximately 9% to 10% of the cases involve women who allege that they suffered a heart attack or stroke from Yaz. Approximately 40% to 41% of the cases involve venus thromboembolisms (VTE), which include deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms from yaz. The remaining 43% involve claims of Yasmin or Yaz gallbladder injuries, with many of the cases resulting in women having their gallbladder removed.
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In complex litigation involving many lawsuits with similar allegations, bellwether trials are selected to allow the parties to gauge how jurors are likely to respond to evidence that will be presented throughout many cases.
Judge Herndon has expressed an interest in selecting representative cases to serve as potential bellwether trials, in hopes that the process will facilitate a potential Yaz settlement agreement or other resolution for the litigation.
“Successful fact gathering during the bellwether process could well lead to an earlier conclusion to this litigation rather than a protracted litigation process, thereby conserving precious resources, redirecting resources, shaping expectations and serving the ends of justice for all concerned,” wrote Judge Herndon in the order. “Little credibility will be attached to the process, and it will be a waste of everyone’s time and resources, if cases are selected which do not accurately reflect the run-of-the-mill case.”
Judge Herndon’s order calls for the plaintiffs and defendants to each choose 25 cases by the end of this month, for a total of 50, to be used as a pool for potential bellwether trials. All of the cases will focus on either gallbladder injuries or VTE (pulmonary embolism or DVT), with the pool divided evenly between the two groups of injuries. Because they make up such a small portion of the cases, Yaz stroke and heart attack lawsuits will be excluded from the pool of potential bellwether cases.
Following case-specific discovery on the pool of 50 cases selected, which will conclude by March 14, 2011, the list of cases will be further narrowed down to 24, with each side will selecting four pulmonary embolism lawsuits, four gallbladder lawsuits and four other VTE lawsuits. After each party is given the opportunity to veto one of the other side’s cases from each injury group, Judge Herndon will select one case from each group to serve as a bellwether trial, with two other cases identified as backups in the event the first can not be tried.
The Yaz bellwether trials will begin with the pulmonary embolism lawsuit on September 12, 2011, followed by a gallbladder injury lawsuit that has been set for trial January 9, 2012 and another VTE case that has been set for trial to begin April 2, 2012.
After pretrial proceedings in the MDL have finished, including the bellwether Yasmin and Yaz trials, if a resolution for the litigation is not achieved, Judge Herndon may consider remanding all of the other cases back to the courts where they were originally filed for individual trials.
EricaDecember 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm
I have had my gallbladder removed and still suffer DAILY. It has been quite a few months and I have yet to get better. It is a struggle daily and I warn ANYONE I can about YAZ and the horrible side effects it has. Ladies stay away from this BC. I have had about 3 friends get off of this, because of my preaching. If I can help ONE person it is worth it to me, NOT to go through what I have went thro[Show More]I have had my gallbladder removed and still suffer DAILY. It has been quite a few months and I have yet to get better. It is a struggle daily and I warn ANYONE I can about YAZ and the horrible side effects it has. Ladies stay away from this BC. I have had about 3 friends get off of this, because of my preaching. If I can help ONE person it is worth it to me, NOT to go through what I have went through.
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