Mirena IUD lawyers at Pintas & Mullins report that a federal judge in New York recently encouraged plaintiff's lawyers to include women in the leadership committee given the nature of the cases. More than 50 lawsuits are currently consolidated in the New York court, with over 100 more pending in state courts.
This assertion took place during the first status conference over the Mirena multi-district litigation (MDL) in White Plains, NY, when four male lawyers asked to be appointed to the executive committee for the proceedings. The U.S. District Judge, Cathy Seibel, urged the attorneys to include at least a few women in their leadership ranks, stating that a female presence, particularly for this specific case, was important.
Further emphasizing this point was the disagreement among other plaintiff's lawyers who were not entirely happy with the all-male leadership. In a May 2013 letter to Judge Seibel, for example, a lawyer from Michigan argued that the female plaintiffs would certainly benefit from at least some qualified female attorneys who could not only better relate to their struggle but promote empathy to a jury as well.
The letter went on to note that Bayer, the defendant in the Mirena cases, is likely to use gender strategically when choosing its lawyers. Currently, Bayer's lead lawyer is a woman. One of the proposed leads for the plaintiffs asserted that, along with the four-member lead committee, plaintiffs want to select a separate, larger committee to steer the litigation efforts.
A bigger committee such as this would help fund litigation costs as well as give the case the power it needs to organize and prepare for the major testimonies and trial proceedings. Experts are expecting thousands of Mirena lawsuits to be filed in the MDL by the time it goes to trial.
All of these lawsuits are being filed on behalf of female patients who were implanted with the Mirena IUD without knowledge of its possible risks and complications. As a result of this negligent and fraudulent lack of disclosure, many women suffered significant and life-altering injuries from the IUD, such as the IUD piercing the uterine wall and migrating into other organs, necessitating surgical removal. Because the IUD was marketed to women who had not yet had children, hundreds of patients are now permanently infertile as a result of this spontaneous migration and will never be able to bear children.
Bayer contends that, since Mirena's introduction in 2001, the company adequately warned about the risk of perforation and migration. It further claims that it warned both doctors and patients to monitor the device's placement by consistently checking for the thread attached to the device, and that, had the company warned about the possibility of spontaneous migration, doctors would have continued to recommend the IUD anyway.
After the initial conference, an attorney stated that the lawyers for plaintiffs would meet in ensuing days to select a steering committee, which will include more gender diversity. In related news, the first lawsuit alleging injuries from the transvaginal mesh product Gynecare Prolift recently concluded, awarding the plaintiff more than $11 million. It was the first transvaginal mesh lawsuit of more than 4,000 currently pending over Johnson & Johnson's defective product.