Yaz Settlement Discussions Continue With Delay of Bellwether Trials
The federal judge assigned to oversee the Yaz MDL in the Southern District of Illinois has postponed proceedings once again as Yaz settlements continue to move forward. These settlements are offering plaintiffs who have suffered serious side effects from the birth control pill, such as Yaz DVT (deep vein thrombosis), the chance to receive compensation for their injuries. As Yaz manufacturer Bayer continues to negotiate settlements with at least some of the plaintiffs seeking legal action, the judge overseeing the MDL is content to let that process continue – at least for the next few months.
The bulk of the nearly 12,000 lawsuits involving Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella are currently consolidated in the multidistrict litigation in Illinois, where Judge David R. Herndon has delayed the first bellwether trials in hopes Yaz lawsuit settlements can be reached in lieu of actual jury trials. Currently, nearly 700 cases involving Yaz DVT and other side effects have been settled with the help of court-appointed mediator and George Washington School of Law professor Stephen Saltzburg.
To date, Bayer has paid out approximately $142 million in settlements, which translates to an average of $218,000 per plaintiff.
Yaz lawsuit settlements restricted to DVT and PE cases?
The bulk of the Yaz lawsuit settlements paid out to date involve plaintiffs alleging Yaz DVT, pulmonary embolism or blood clots. Settlements at this point have not included more serious injuries, such as women who have suffered from debilitating strokes or died after taking the oral contraceptive. This means lawsuits against Bayer are far from resolved, with thousands of plaintiffs still waiting for their day in court.
The current Yaz settlements also do not include plaintiffs who claim to have suffered Yaz gallbladder disease. With less research currently available to support the link between this side effect and Yaz use, Bayer seems prepared to fight lawsuits involving gallbladder disease in court at this time.
However, that status could change if additional information surfaces that proves a causal link between the two, particularly in light of the fact that early studies do show an association between gallbladder issues and use of Yaz or Yasmin.
Bellwether trials involving Yaz DVT, other side effects are postponed
The bellwether trials for the MDL involving Yaz DVT, pulmonary embolism and Yaz gallbladder disease were originally scheduled to begin in January, 2012. However, Judge Herndon extended that date in December, 2011, ordering both sides to meet with a mediator in an attempt to produce Yaz lawsuit settlements.
Because that process has proven successful, Judge Herndon has called for another stay of bellwether trials, which now puts the first trial date into September, 2012.