October 3, 2016 — Essure lawsuits involving around 900 women will be coordinated in Alameda County Superior Court under Judge Winifred Smith.
In August, Judge Smith rejected Bayer’s claim of immunity. The ruling was a major win for plaintiffs and paved the way for lawsuits to move forward in California.
Coordinating the lawsuits will also help lawyers pool their resources and build momentum. It should also streamline the process and bring a faster legal remedy for women who were injured.
With 31 law firms involved in the Essure litigation, many lawyers applauded the ruling. Plaintiffs’ attorney Elizabeth Graham said:
“Having these cases coordinated before a single judge will avoid inconsistent rulings and allow these women to prosecute their claims in a cohesive and unified manner.”
Many of the lawsuits involve out-of-state residents. The coordinated litigation will also test a recent California Supreme Court ruling allowing a drug-maker to be sued by non-Californians.
Essure was developed by Conceptus, which is based in the Bay Area, and approved in 2002. Conceptus was acquired by Bayer in 2013.
Lawyers accuse the companies of selling a defective and unreasonably dangerous medical device, inadequately studying its safety risks, and failing to warn about side effects.
In February 2016, after receiving over 5,000 complaints, the FDA ordered Bayer to place a “Black Box” warning label on Essure to clearly warn about its risks. The FDA also ordered Bayer to conduct new safety studies to investigate complications like chronic pain, abnormal bleeding, allergic reactions, and surgical removal of Essure.