What is the Current Status of the YAZ/Yasmin Lawsuits?There are approximately 1,100 YAZ lawsuits pending around the country. Bayer’s settlement payouts to settle Yaz and Yasmin claims who developed blood clots and other serious side effects from these birth control pills has now exceeded $1 billion, according to a recent financial disclosure by Bayer. As of May, 2013, these lawsuits are still be fought around the country in three central hotbeds: the federal cases (all in Illinois), New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here is an update for each: Yaz Lawsuit Update There are 891 cases that have been filed in federal courts around the country and consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. These cases are consolidated for pretrial discovery in what is known as an MDL (multidistrict litigation—more on that here ). Any case filed in a federal court anywhere in the country is sent to the Southern District of Illinois. After discovery is finished, many of these cases may be sent back to their home states for trial. At the March 4, 2010 status conference Judge Herndon confirmed that Bayer, the defendant, has produced over 10 million pages of documents in response to discovery requests. The court continues to work with the parties on protocols for managing the cases. Judge Herndon recently denied remand in some cases where plaintiffs sought to be in state court on diversity grounds by adding local pharmacists as defendants. The defendants removed to federal court, and Judge Herndon found that diversity was insufficient here because the plaintiffs were not likely to succeed in their cases as against the pharmacists. Those cases will remain joined with the other federal cases, and will stay before Judge Herndon. On November 10, 2009, New Jersey state court Assignment Judge Donald Volkert, Jr. formally requested consolidation of the YAZ, Yasmin and Ocella birth control lawsuits in New Jersey state courts. In an order dated February 9, 2010 (and posted to the New Jersey website on February 18, 2010) , Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ordered that all pending and future state court actions regarding the birth control pills would be designated as a mass tort and assigned to Bergen County Judge Brian R. Martinotti. Furthermore, Judge Martinotti will oversee those cases and may return them to their original counties as he sees fit (presumably for individual trials after common work is completed). An initial conference was set for April 26, 2010. The Judge has filed an order regarding initial management of the cases. And now the cases are beginning to settle. Many victims have already been paid. Pennsylvania Cases: The third center for YAZ and Yasmin cases is the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These cases are before Judge Sandra Mazer Moss, and have been officially designated as a “mass tort.” This court operates essentially as a mini-MDL. The judge has been working with counsel to establish protocols for the management of the cases.
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