By: Indhira Benitez
On Thursday, March 18th, at a hearing before a San Diego federal judicial panel on Multidistrict Litigation, Bayer's lawyer, Marie Woodbury of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, argued that consolidating the cases against the Mirena IUD birth control device would do little to promote efficiency but would rather slow the litigation's progress, according to lawyers who attended the hearing. Ironically, Bayer motioned the New Jersey courts to consolidate the actions.
Bayer is the manufacturer of Mirena IUD, which is an intrauterine device that slowly releases a hormone over five years to prevent pregnancy. It has been alleged to cause serious adverse side effects, such as device migration, device embedment, and pain and discomfort. Over 40 lawsuits have been filed in courts across the country, alleging that the label for Mirena IUD failed to adequately warn women that the device could possibly perforate their uterus and migrate to other parts of the body, causing serious medical harm.
"The creation of an MDL would potentially make it easy for Plaintiffs' counsel to overlook the flaws in any individual case, leading to the filing of cases that they would not have filed, but for the existence of an MDL. This could inundate a defendant with hundreds or thousands of cases, thereby forcing settlement for business rather than legal reasons," Bayer argued in its brief filed with the panel.
Consolidating cases would be in the best interest of the many women who have been subjected to the adverse side effects of Mirena IUD. Multidistrict litigation encourages more plaintiffs to file suit. By consolidating pretrial preparations, plaintiffs can share the costs, such as expert fees, that they may not be able to afford alone.
Furthermore, Multidistrict litigation for the Mirena IUD cases would allow any number of separate lawsuits alleging similar injuries caused by the Mirena IUD birth control to be tried and heard in front of the same judge. By centralizing these cases, litigation moves faster and much more efficiently.
It seems as though Bayer's attorneys are not arguing for efficiency but instead for what would discourage plaintiffs from filing suit. If MDL is not allowed, plaintiffs will be discouraged to bring claims in federal court even despite the strong merits of a claim.
Here at Rheingold Law, we strive for justice and efficiency in cases where a drug, medical device, or medical practitioner has adversely affected large numbers of people. Women who have suffered due to Mirena should not be discouraged by Bayer's motion to not allow the consolidation of these cases.