Yaz Lawsuits Moving Forward in New Jersey State Court

The number of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella lawsuits that are part of a mass tort docket in New Jersey has multiplied tenfold since the product liability cases were consolidated in February. 

In just five short months, the number of Yaz lawsuits, Yasmin lawsuits and Ocella lawsuits centralized in Bergen County Superior Court has leapt from 39 to about 400, according to court documents released last month.

The New Jersey Yaz litigation was consolidated earlier this year at the request of Assignment Judge Donald Volkert, Jr., who was concerned about courts throughout the state being overloaded with filings, since New Jersey is the corporate headquarters in the United States for Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which manufacturers the birth control pills.

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Judge Brian R. Martinotti, who is presiding over the centralized Yaz mass tort in New Jersey, issued several Case Management Orders last month outlining the exchange of information between plaintiffs and defendants about their cases, including Fact Sheets which must be completed answering basic discovery questions. Lawyers involved in the litigation are scheduled to meet next with the court in late September.

Similar state court coordination has been ordered for Yaz lawsuits pending in Pennsylvania, which are centralized before Judge Sandra Mazer Moss in Philadelphia.

All federal Yaz litigation has been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), under Chief Judge David Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. There are more than 2,000 cases currently pending in the Yaz/Yasmin MDL, but that number is expected to continue to climb as Yaz lawyers review and file additional cases throughout the country.

Bayer has produced an estimated 10 million documents in the MDL, but plaintiffs’ lawyers have protested that millions of those pages were scanned incorrectly with faulty page breaks. According to a recent report by The Madison Record, lawyers representing plaintiffs in the litigation indicate that the manner in which the documents were produced has made it impossible to find an entire document from beginning to end.

All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that side effects of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella increase the risk that women may suffer a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease or other injury. The plaintiffs claim that Bayer failed to adequately research the birth control pills or warn about the increased risks when compared to other available forms of oral birth control.

Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella are among the most widely used types of oral birth control pills. They all contain a combination of ethinyl estradiol with a new type of progestin, drospirenone, which can increase blood potassium levels and cause serious heart and health problems.

Yaz and Yasmin birth control are manufactured and sold by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, while Ocella is a generic Yasmin version that is marketed by Teva Pharmaceuticals under a licensing agreement with Bayer.


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