Herndon orders Yasmin case to be reinstated

Kelly Holleran Aug. 12, 2011, 9:17am


A U.S. District Court judge has ordered that a suit filed against Bayer by the mother of a deceased woman be reinstated. The mother claims her daughter died after taking the birth control pill, Yasmin.

Paulette Morgan as survivor for Alice Morgan filed a lawsuit in 2009 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois after she claims her daughter suffered blood clots that led to her death. At the time of Alice Morgan's death, she was taking the birth control pill, Yaz.

Paulette Morgan's case was dismissed July 22 after she failed to complete a questionnaire called a Plaintiff Fact Sheet. However, Paulette Morgan has since submitted the sheet and filed a motion for her case to be restored.

U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon reinstated the case in an order filed Aug. 5 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Paulette Morgan is one of many plaintiffs to file suit against Bayer. Yaz has been alleged in multiple lawsuits to create a risk of blood clots within the lungs and deep veins, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes or death.

Herndon presides over the oral contraception multi-district litigation.

It is more likely than other birth control pills to cause such problems because it contains drospirenone, an ingredient that may increase potassium levels in the blood, according to Morgan's complaint. As potassium levels increase, hyperkalemia can form, which may disrupt the normal heart rhythm. In turn, blood clots can form. Those blood clots can travel to the lungs, where they can cause heart attacks, or to the brain, where they can lead to a stroke, the suit states.

Despite evidence pointing to the risks associated with Yaz, Bayer continued to promote the product until the FDA intervened and required the company to correct its advertisements, the lawsuit says.

"Bayer ultimately agreed to spend at least $20 million on corrective TV advertisements and to submit all Yaz/Yasmin advertisements to the FDA for advanced screening for the next six years," the complaint says.

Had Alice Morgan been aware of the dangers of taking the drug, she never would have ingested it, her mother alleges in the complaint.

Paulette Morgan alleges strict product liability and negligence in her complaint.

She seeks compensatory, plus medical costs, attorneys' fees, punitive damages of more than twice the compensatory damages and other relief the court deems just.

Jeffrey J. Lowe, Andrew J. Cross, Francis J. Casey Flynn and Sarah Bauman of Carey, Danis and Lowe in St. Louis will be representing Paulette Morgan.

U.S. District Court case number: 3:10-cv-12864.

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