Yaz Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Roles in Federal MDL

U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon, who is presiding over the federal litigation for Yaz and Yasmin birth control, has appointed a group of attorneys to serve in leadership roles, and perform certain actions on behalf of all plaintiffs who have filed a Yaz lawsuit or Yasmin lawsuit against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.

In October, all federal Yasmin and Yaz lawsuits were centralized before Judge Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. The cases involve allegations that the popular birth control pills increase the risk that women will suffer a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease or sudden death on Yaz or Yasmin.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, Judge Herndon appointed 14 lawyers to serve on the Plaintiffs’ steering committee. These attorneys will conduct discover and other functions that can be applied to all cases.

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According to the order issued on November 10, Michael S. Burg, Michael London and Mark N. Niemeyer were appointed as Co-Lead Counsel for the plaintiffs. These attorneys will act as the spokespersons for all plaintiffs at pretrial proceedings and in response to inquiries from the court. They will also submit and argue motions before the court, examine witnesses at hearings and negotiate stipulations and potential settlements with the defendants, which would apply to all cases.

Judge Herndon also appointed Roger Denton as liaison counsel. He will receive and distribute orders from the Court and documents from opposing counsel and assist in the coordination of activities between both parties.

Yasmin and Yaz are similar birth control pills manufactured by Bayer, which contain a newer type of progestin known as drospirenone. Yaz, Yasmin and the generic Ocella are the only oral birth control pills in the United States that use this unique progestin, which complaints point to as cause for serious and potentially life-threatening Yasmin and Yaz side effects.

Bayer disclosed last month that they have already been served with at least 129 Yaz or Yasmin lawsuits. However, Yaz lawyers are continuing to investigate and review thousands of other cases for women throughout the United States, and it is expected that the number of cases filed will increase dramatically in the coming months.

As additional cases are filed in federal courts across the country, they will be transferred to Judge Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for pretrial consolidation. If the cases do not settle or otherwise resolve during pretrial litigation, they will be returned back to the court where they were originally filed for trial.

Similar state court consolidation has also occurred for Yaz litigation in Pennsylvania, and a request was filed this month to afford mass tort treatment to Yaz cases in New Jersey.

Although lawyers have been appointed to the Plaintiffs steering committee and other leadership roles in the MDL, each plaintiff who files a lawsuit over problems with the birth control pills will maintain their own Yaz attorney, who will represent their individual interests and obtain the evidence necessary to establish their case.

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