Mediation Ordered in Yaz Litigation
Though the bellwether trial for a federal court Yaz lawsuit was scheduled to begin on January 9, 2012, the trial has been put on hold, as thousands of Yaz lawsuits have been ordered into mediation. Chief Judge David R. Herndon, who is overseeing the Yaz multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, ordered the parties to pursue settlement through mediation on December 31, 2011.
Likelihood of Yaz settlements increases
Judge Sandra Mazer Moss in Philadelphia, who is overseeing the consolidated Pennsylvania lawsuits, followed suit by ordering the parties into mediation on January 6, 2012. The thousands of pending Yaz lawsuits, many of which allege injuries due to Yaz pulmonary embolism, will be put on hold as the plaintiffs and Bayer AG, the manufacturer of the contraceptive medication, explore the possibility of a global settlement.
Experienced mediator to address Yaz pulmonary embolism claims
Both Judge Herndon and Judge Moss selected Professor Stephen Saltzburg of the George Washington School of Law to act as special master for mediation. Professor Saltzburg is an experienced mediator and serves as Co-Director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program at George Washington.
He has won praise for successfully fostering settlements in other pharmaceutical litigation, notably in 2010 when he helped resolve 26,000 claims against the company AstraZeneca, which agreed to settle for more than $600 million. Many observers hope he achieves a similarly successful result in resolving the litigation.
No deadline for Yaz mediation
Judge Herndon and Judge Moss contend that if the parties involved in the litigation negotiate in good faith, successful settlements can be reached. Though Judge Herndon did not establish a deadline for the Yaz lawsuit mediation, if the talks show signs of breaking down he can reset the cases for trial.
Among the evidence likely to be addressed in mediation is the FDA’s recent warning that women taking Bayer’s birth-control drugs were 74 percent more likely to suffer blood clots, such as a Yaz pulmonary embolism, than women taking other low-estrogen contraceptives.