The Supreme Court of New Jersey just reconsidered a prior decision and is centralizing all Mirena® intrauterine device (IUD) litigation in Bergen County, New Jersey. This will enable the process to move more efficiently given that many of the plaintiffs have made similar allegations.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals’ Mirena® IUD in 2000. The hormonal birth control device is a small, plastic, t-shaped device attached to two strings that is placed in the uterus (and later removed) by a healthcare professional. The Mirena® releases the hormone levonorgestrel and can remain in the uterus for up to five years. According to the FDA, the most serious side effects associated with the Mirena® IUD include:
- Perforation of the uterine wall
- Embedment of the Mirena® in the uterine wall
- Intrauterine pregnancy
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Group A streptococcal sepsis
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Surgical removal of the Mirena is required when Mirena IUD injuries occur, which may also lead to other serious injuries and infections. Some of these serious injuries are long-term and, sometimes, permanent.
“Centralization will allow the litigation to proceed more efficiently,” said Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at the national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP. Mr. McCauley added that centralization is a fitting solution as well, since “there are common allegations in these Mirena® IUD lawsuits. Many of the women, for instance, were told that having this IUD implanted would provide them with a convenient form of long-term birth control. Now, they allege that the Mirena® device perforated their uterus and became embedded in other parts of their body, requiring surgery to remove it.”
On March 6, 2013, Parker Waichman LLP submitted an application asking the Superior Court of New Jersey to reconsider its previous decision denying Bayer’s application for centralized management of Multicounty Litigation for Mirena IUD® lawsuits. The application asked the court to reconsider centralizing as there are more than 60 lawsuits alleging injuries from the Mirena® IUD, with more lawsuits expected in the future. Parker Waichman LLP has filed more than 50 cases in Morris County. The centralized Mirena® IUD litigation in Bergen County will be managed by Superior Court Judge Brian R. Martinotti, according to a Notice to the Bar dated May 24, 2013.
Mr. McCauley was also recently appointed Co-Lead Counsel in the Mirena® IUD multidistrict litigation in New York and co-chairs the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Mirena® IUD Litigation Group, which is actively involved in exchanging educational materials and medical literature in order to best represent victims.
In 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC) contacted Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals for making unsubstantiated claims about the device, while failing to mention its risks in the company’s “Simple Style” program.