More suits filed in Yaz litigation; MDL nears 10,000 cases

Bethany Krajelis Jul. 24, 2012, 5:47am


EAST ST. LOUIS - More than 70 lawsuits over the oral contraceptives Yasmin and Yaz have been filed this month in the East St. Louis federal court.

Court documents show that at least 76 lawsuits against Bayer drug companies have been filed since the beginning of July. The new suits add to Chief U.S. District Judge David Herndon's already hefty docket in the Multi District Litigation (MDL) in the matter, which was assigned to him more than two years ago.

The MDL, according to the court's website, includes about 9,800 cases, all of which were brought by plaintiffs who claim the Yasmin-line of birth control pills caused heart attacks, strokes, embolisms, clots and other diseases.

Plaintiffs accuse the drug manufacturers of failing to adequately research their products and concealing the risks of the contraceptives.

Although dozens of these cases originated in Madison and St. Clair counties, many of the suits filed this month were transferred to the MDL from other jurisdictions, including Texas, Colorado and Florida.

Herndon earlier this month said that cases "have been settling at a consistent rate" and he expected the rest to be resolved in "some period of time here soon."

Stephen Saltzburg, a professor at the George Washington University Law School who serves as special master in the MDL, said about 1,500 of the 9,000-plus cases have been settled since February.

In those cases, he said, Bayer agreed to pay out more than $300 million with the average settlement hovering at about $214,000.

Saltzburg predicted earlier this month that more suits could be filed once word got out that cases in multi-district litigation are getting settled for substantial amounts. Based on the number of lawsuits filed against Bayer this month alone, it appears that his prediction is on track.

The last status conference in the matter took place in late June and no future hearings have been set, according to court documents.

The citation for the Multi District Litigation is 3:09-md-2100.

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