Federal Judge Orders Mediation in Yaz Bellwether Case Set for Trial in Southern Illinois

By January 5, 2012 July 18th, 2019 Dangerous Drugs

I’ve written here many times before about the dangers of the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, in my role as a dangerous drug lawyer. Both pills contain the relatively new drug drospirenone, which is newer than other birth control and once thought safer. However, studies and patient experiences have started to pile up the evidence that drospirenone may actually be less safe than older drugs, because of a tendency to cause dangerous blood clots. These clots can cause death or emergency hospitalization due to stroke and heart problems. As a result, drug maker Bayer now faces hundreds or thousands of lawsuits over its failure to warn patients — and many have been consolidated in southern Illinois. The first case was set to go to trial in early 2012, but as FiercePharma reported Jan. 4, it’s now heading for mediation.
Judge David Herndon of the U.S. district court for the southern district of Illinois had said he’d press for settlements after the first cases — called bellwether cases because they could predict the direction of later lawsuits — were completed. The first case, Kelly Sims v. Bayer, was scheduled to start Jan. 9. But in a surprise move, Herndon delayed trial and ordered both sides to meet with a court-appointed mediator and negotiate in good faith. That mediator is Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University and the mediator who handled 26,000 cases alleging injuries from the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. The Dec. 31 order says Herndon believes both sides will be better served by negotiating and that the principles of a bellwether plan will not be met by going to trial. It’s unclear what might be happening in other cases.
As a defective drug attorney, I’m interested to see what happens with these negotiations. The goal in Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits is not necessarily to go to trial; it’s to get adequate compensation for plaintiffs who’ve suffered serious health consequences from taking the drugs. For that reason, I don’t believe it would be bad for plaintiffs if they were able to settle this dispute in mediation, as long as they were able to secure adequate financial compensation. However, another consequence of mediation may be to shield the proceedings from the public. This would be less good, because another point of pursuing litigation over Yasmin and Yaz is to raise public awareness that these drugs could pose an unnecessary and avoidable risk. The FDA recently voted to recommend clearer blood clot warnings on the drugs’ labels, but a high-profile win for plaintiffs in the media could do more.
If you suffered a serious illness or injury from taking a prescription drug, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe to discuss how we can help. Based in St. Louis and southern Illinois, we represent clients across the United States who were harmed by a drug they took in order to feel better — that carried no warnings about its serious side effects. Drug manufacturers must warn patients about safety risks, just like any other consumer product manufacturer. But because of the astronomical profits that can be made from a prescription drug under patent, pharmaceutical companies often take steps to cover up a prescription drug’s risks. This exposes everyone who takes and trusts that drug to dangerous side effects. Our pharmaceutical liability lawyers help clients recover damages from companies that deceived them in this way, covering not only their past and future medical are, but compensating them for lost income, permanent disabilities and more.


Carey, Danis & Lowe represents clients who are ready to hold drug companies legally liable for their dangerous drugs. If you believe you were injured and you’d like to talk more, contact us through our website or call 1-877-678-3400 today.
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Bayer Asks Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Intervene in Philadelphia Yaz and Yasmin Lawsuits