Hundreds of Mirena IUD birth control cases have been filed across the country, with the first trials expected in 2015. Thousands more of these cases may be filed in the future.
The discovery process has begun in Mirena birth control lawsuits filed in federal courts and in New Jersey state courts. The first trial dates are expected in the second half of 2015, according to a pretrial order. Lawsuits concerning the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) filed in federal courts have been consolidated into a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
More than 400 product liability complaints have been filed against Mirena’s manufacturer, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, in state courts (219 in New Jersey, where Bayer has its headquarters) and federal courts (at least 159 cases have been consolidated). The plaintiffs are women alleging serious and debilitating injuries when the Mirena IUD migrated out of place, often perforating the uterus, causing infections and other complications.
As more women with Mirena complications contact attorneys, the total number of lawsuits filed nationwide is expected to rise. Some estimates are that thousands of these cases will ultimately be filed. More than 70,000 adverse events related to Mirena have been filed with the Federal Drug Administration since 2008.
Dates and Deadlines
In an order issued September 25 by Judge Brian R. Martinotti, who presides over the centralized New Jersey cases, the time table for production of documents, selection of a small group of cases for an initial trial pool, completion of discovery and preparation of the cases for trial is spelled out. May 15, 2015 is the deadline for dispositive motions and challenges to expert witnesses, suggesting that the first case may not be tried until the second half of the year.
The New Jersey state court’s order’s dates are the same as the Mirena bellwether trial schedule issued in the federal MDL. A small group of federal lawsuits will be prepared for early trial dates, with dispositive motions and expert challenges also due by May 15, 2015.
In complex pharmaceutical litigation where a large number of lawsuits are filed over similar injuries, it is common for early trial dates, or “bellwether” cases, to be scheduled to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their case and how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will likely be repeated throughout the litigation. This may aid the parties in settlement negotiations or, failing that, strategies for future trials.
Mirena Birth Control Complications
Bayer introduced Mirena in 2000. The small T-shaped birth control is inserted into the woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. Bayer aggressively promoted the product as a convenient form of birth control. After its release, a growing number of women and their doctors reported incidences where the Mirena IUD migrated from its initial implant location, perforating the uterus and other organs, and causing infections and abscesses. Mirena is designed to be effective against pregnancies for up to five years, but if the device migrates, it can leave women unknowingly unprotected against pregnancy.
Rodney Warner worked for 16 years as a civil rights litigator before transitioning to a full time writing career. You can read more of his work about Mirena IUD lawsuits here.