One attorney for the plaintiffs said this settlement will involve approximately 1,200 cases nationwide. This settlement deal comes on the heels of Judge Herndon’s announcement last month that, due to a lack of progress settling these last cases, he would consider remanding individual cases back to the U.S. District Court where they were originally filed for individual trial dates. And back in February, Judge Herndon “expressed frustration at the apparent lack of good faith negotiations by Bayer,” which caused thousands of women to wait even longer for a resolution. Bayer’s oral contraceptives litigation has been going on for more than six years.
Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella birth control lawsuits filed against Bayer were consolidated in 2009 into a mass tort program in Pennsylvania, a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL 2100), and consolidated litigations in New Jersey and California. At its height, more than 12,000 files with multiple plaintiffs per file had been brought in the four jurisdictions, making it the largest multidistrict litigation in the nation. By February, the MDL had been reduced to about 3,400 claims, according to court documents.
Bellwether trials in Philadelphia and in the MDL were gearing up in 2012, but the litigation was stayed as Bayer began to settle thousands of blood clot claims involving pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis and/or gallbladder injury.
At the end of April, 360 cases were pending in the Philadelphia Complex Litigation Center, according to recent statistics. The first arterial blood clot-related case had been set to begin trial in late July, according to The Legal Intelligence. Now, Bayer said it will pay the $56.9 million if a certain percentage of Plaintiffs in various categories opt in, including 97.5 percent of all plaintiffs. Bayer can, however, withdraw from the program if fewer than 97.5 percent of those who are eligible participate.
Bayer Vice President Steven Immergut said in a statement that the company had agreed to settle the cases despite continuing to believe that the drugs did not carry an increased risk of arterial blood clots. “Bayer agreed to this settlement, without admission of wrongdoing or liability, in order to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation and to put the focus back on what matters most - the needs of patients.”
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The cases are In re: Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:09-md-02100, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois; In re: Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella Litigation, case number L-11775-10, in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, County of Bergen; In Re: Yaz Yasmin Ocella Litigation, case number 090901307, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; and Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella Contraceptive Cases, Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding No. 4608, in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.