Discovery in Yasmin and Yaz Litigation Expanded Beyond Bellwether Cases

The judge presiding over all federal Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits has expanded the scope of discovery in the litigation beyond the selected bellwether cases, allowing case-specific discovery to move forward in up to 100 other cases filed on behalf of women who allege that side effects of the birth control pills caused them to suffer an injury.

In an order filed on Monday, Judge David R. Herndon expanded the scope of discovery beyond the 24 cases selected last year to serve as a pool of bellwether lawsuits, which are being prepared for early trial dates. Case-specific discovery, including depositions of individual plaintiffs, will also now be permitted in the oldest 100 non-bellwether cases that have been filed.

About 6,350 lawsuits are now consolidated as part of the Yasmin and Yaz litigation before Judge Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. When Judge Herndon implemented the original bellwether program in October 2010, there were about 3,700 filed cases and the number of cases is expected to continue to grow as Yaz and Yasmin lawyers review and file additional cases.

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All of the suits involve allegations that Bayer failed to properly research their birth control pills or adequately warn about the increased risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries from the birth control pills containing drospirenone, such as a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or gallbladder disease.

Yaz and Yasmin were the first birth control pills to contain drospirenone, a new type of progestin. Drospirenone impacts the body’s normal mechanism of regulating a balance between salt and water, which could result in elevated potassium levels. This can cause a condition known as hyperkalemia, which is linked to potentially life-threatening heart problems and other health issues.

By allowing the expanded discovery in additional cases, the court notes that it “will provide the parties with vital information, restore confidence in the discovery process, and may ultimately serve as a catalyst for the just and efficient resolution of this litigation.” The outcome of the bellwether trials and information obtained from the additional plaintiff depositions could help facilitate an eventual Yaz settlement agreement between the parties.

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