The pharmaceutical company Bayer is currently facing a large number of lawsuits alleging that the birth control pills Yasmin and Yaz, both of which contain the relatively new drug drospirenone, carries an unreasonable risk of dangerous blood clots. So as a defective drug lawyer, I was disappointed but not surprised to see a report that Bayer is asking one state’s high court for a special intervention that would reduce its liability. Legal Newsline reported Dec. 12 that Bayer has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to stop the lawsuits coming out of the Complex Litigation Center of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The manufacturer alleges that the CLC is encouraging lawsuits by people who don’t live in Pennsylvania and weren’t treated in Pennsylvania to be filed in Philadelphia, in order to generate more filing fees.
Attorneys for Bayer wrote to the state high court as part of an appeal of nine rejected motions to dismiss, asking it to use its power to clarify which lawsuits belong in Pennsylvania. They say 85 percent of the Yaz and Yasmin injury lawsuits in the CLC were filed by people who have no reason to litigate in Pennsylvania. This is harmful to Pennsylvanians who want to pursue injury lawsuits over Yasmin and Yaz, they wrote, and creates difficulties for Bayer by locating the lawsuit away from the forum with the evidence. Bayer Corp. has a principal place of business in Pennsylvaia, but it is a holding company for the direct manufacturer, New Jersey-based Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. Philadelphia is under fire by opponents of consumer lawsuits, having been named as the top “judicial hellhole” for 2011 by a tort reform interest group. A Pennsylvania state legislator has introduced a bill to limit forums for new lawsuits.
As a pharmaceutical injury attorney, I predict that Bayer will not succeed. If it’s true that most of the Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits in the CLC were filed by out-of-state people, these are probably not the first motions to dismiss for improper venue. Thus, whatever legal reasoning the lower court used to deny the motions is probably well-tested. Furthermore, there may be an argument that the CLC is an appropriate venue for Yasmin and Yaz lawsuits precisely because it sees a lot of these claims. Drug injury lawsuits like these are frequently complex cases involving a lot of expert testimony to explain the connection between the drug and the injury to a lay jury. And because injury cases involving popular drugs like Yaz and Yasmin tend to leave numerous people with the same complaints, consolidating all of these cases in the same place leaves the door open for a more efficient class-action lawsuit — which may be what Bayer really fears.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we represent clients across the United States who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one after taking a drug they thought they could trust. When doctors prescribe drugs and pharmacies offer them widely for sale, we often assume that they must be safe. Unfortunately, that’s just not a safe assumption. Because new pharmaceuticals are expensive to produce and can carry very high profits, some drug companies have been known to suppress negative information about their drugs, even important safety information, until the danger is exposed by a high rate of side effects or independent scientific research. Our dangerous drug lawyers help victims of these unsafe practices hold the drug maker legally and financially responsible for their injuries and financial damages.
If you believe your family suffered a serious injury because of a drug that you should have been warned about, call Carey, Danis & Lowe today for a free consultation. You can reach us through our website or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.
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