August 13, 2014 — A panel of federal judges has denied a motion to centralize nine lawsuits involving brain injuries from Mirena into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in federal court, according to Law360.
The motion was filed in May 2014 by attorneys for plaintiffs who developed idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) or pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). These neurological conditions occur when a hormone in Mirena, levonorgestrel, increases cerebrospinal fluid and puts pressure on the brain. Click here to read more.
Meanwhile, over 600 lawsuits involving spontaneous uterine perforations from Mirena are pending in an MDL overseen by Judge Cathy Seibel in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Another 800 lawsuits are pending in state court in New Jersey. In total, Bayer is facing over 2,000 lawsuits involving Mirena.
On August 11, attorneys in the MDL presented a list of 12 cases that are candidates for the first “bellwether” trial. Next year, the list will be whittled down to six cases to go through expert witness testimony and other discovery procedures. One case will be selected for trial in 2016.
In the MDL process, “bellwether” trials are critical for attorneys to gauge how a jury will respond to evidence. The outcome can help expedite settlements or other resolutions in cases with similar factual allegations.
Most of the lawsuits accuse Bayer of failing to adequately warn that Mirena can spontaneously migrate, puncture the uterus, and travel into the abdominal cavity. Treatment for this complication typically requires surgery. In some cases, plaintiffs were misdiagnosed for months or years because doctors assumed Mirena had simply fallen out. Plaintiffs allege that Bayer has only warned about the risk of uterine perforation during the insertion procedure.