Stay Extended in Illinois MDL to Allow for Yaz Settlements
For the third time this year, the judge overseeing the Yaz multidistrict litigation (MDL) has pushed back all pretrial deadlines to allow the parties time to reach Yaz settlements. Chief Judge David R. Herndon, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, issued the stay on April 19, 2012.
Yaz lawsuit bellwether trials now expected in the fall
The ninety-day extension means that the initial bellwether trials are not likely to begin before late September. The bellwether trial process involves selecting a limited number of representative cases for trial so that the parties can assess the likely response of juries to the common evidence. The results of bellwether trials can inform future settlement negotiations for injuries such as Yasmin pulmonary embolism and stroke.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys and Bayer have been working on settlements since January, when Judge Herndon first extended the deadlines. He has ordered the parties to seek Yaz settlements in good faith, and has cautioned that if the negotiations break down, either trials or remands back to each case’s court of origin will result.
Pace of Yaz settlements increasing
It is estimated that Bayer, the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin, is currently facing over 11,500 lawsuits from women who have been injured by the oral contraceptives. Both pills incorporate a synthetic female hormone known as drospirenone, which is associated with a range of adverse side effects such as Yaz blood clots, Yaz deep vein thrombosis (Yaz DVT), gall bladder disease, stroke, and Yasmin pulmonary embolism.
Many plaintiffs have alleged severe and permanent injuries due to their use of Bayer’s products, while other lawsuit claims have been brought on behalf of women who died after suffering Yasmin pulmonary embolism and other life-threatening conditions.
Corporate disclosure documents from February suggest that Bayer has reached settlements with some 70 Yaz side effects plaintiffs, and recent news reports indicate that the company has set aside $110 million to settle 500 additional cases. Should such reports prove accurate, Judge Herndon’s decision to allow the parties additional time to reach settlements over injuries like Yasmin pulmonary embolism may bring more positive news in the coming weeks.