Hundreds of Mirena IUD Lawsuits Progress in Federal, State Courts

More than 430 Mirena IUD lawsuits are now in the works in federal and state courts across the country. Chief defendant in the suits is Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the intrauterine birth control device.

New Jersey MCL; Bayer Headquarters

More than 200 cases are part of a multicounty litigation (MCL) in New Jersey before Judge Brian R. Martinotti of Bergen County Superior Court. The MCL was approved in May. A report more than a month ago showed 219 cases in the New Jersey MCL. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals headquarters are in Montville, NJ.

A federal Judicial Panel has the power to transfer federal cases from across the country to a single federal court, which in the case of Mirena lawsuits is the Southern District of New York. However, the panel cannot transfer cases filed in New Jersey, because Bayer Healthcare headquarters are in that state.

Plaintiffs in the New Jersey actions are residents of more than 20 U.S. states, including at least one plaintiff from Oklahoma. Attorneys for those plaintiffs apparently believe their chances are better in New Jersey state court than in New York federal court.

The Oklahoma plaintiff alleges that her Mirena IUD migrated, requiring a hysteroscopy (an endoscopic inspection of the uterus) to remove it. She alleges permanent, severe physical injuries, significant medical bills and lost wages.

Discovery in the New Jersey cases began in October, and the first trials are not expected to start until the latter half of 2015.

New York MDL

More than 200 other cases are pending at the federal level as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of New York before Judge Cathy Seibel. The federal Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation approved the MDL in April. The panel’s last statistical report, on Oct. 17, showed 211 cases in the “Mirena IUD Products Liability Litigation” (MDL 2434).

All cases in the New York MDL must involve spontaneous migration of the device and/or uterine perforation. The Mirena IUD is a plastic, T-shaped device that is inserted in the uterus and which releases the hormone levonorgestrel. A frequently reported problem of Mirena IUDs is that they become dislodged from the uterus and spontaneously migrate to some other part of the body, such as the abdominal cavity, fallopian tube or pelvis. The devices have also sometimes punctured the uterus wall.

The first “bellwether cases” in the federal MDL are expected to go to trial in early 2015.

MDLs and MCLs are not class actions. Each of the more than 400 cases are individual legal actions. However, the cases have been “consolidated” to save time and money by sharing some parts of the judicial process, including discovery.

More than 70,000 Complaints to FDA

Many plaintiffs allege that Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals failed to provide sufficient warning about possible side effects. In addition to spontaneous migration and uterine perforation, Mirena users have reported infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and sepsis, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility and abdominal pain. Such adverse effects have often required corrective surgeries or surgeries to remove a migrated device.

The FDA has received more than 70,000 complaints from Mirena IUD users since the product went on the market in 2000. An FDA report covering April 2008 to April 2013, requested under the Freedom of Information Act and available online, is 13,434 pages long, listing 59,073 complaints during that five-year period.

During 2008-2013, 4,775 women reported “device dislocation” to the FDA and 1,322 reported uterine perforations.

The Hasbrook & Hasbrook law firm is reviewing the claims of Oklahoma women who have experienced harms and damages due to use of a Mirena IUD. Contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one has experienced uterine perforation, device migration, surgical removal of the device due to migration or surgical removal of the device due to embedment. Consultations are confidential and free of charge.