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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Client alleges attorney failed to respond to motion to dismiss Yaz lawsuit


By Carrie Bradon | Mar 13, 2019

BELLEVILLE — A woman claims her former attorney failed to respond to a motion to dismiss in a Yaz suit, leaving her with no means to recover damages from the pharmaceutical company. 

Vernita Crowder of Crittenden County, Ark., filed a complaint March 7 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against J. Robert Black and Robins Could LLP, alleging legal malpractice and negligence.

The suit states Crowder was given a prescription for Yasmin, Ocella and Gianci (collectively Yaz) by her physician in April 2018.The plaintiff claims she was unaware that there were defective qualities to the medication, causing her to suffer from physical pain, anguish and disfigurement.

Crowder had filed a lawsuit through Black against manufacturer Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc.. She alleged the company engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing by purposefully misrepresenting, concealing, and omitting the fact that the consumption of Yaz would increase a patient’s risk of thrombosis, heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular complications. She alleged Bayer purposefully hid this fact from consumers. 

Crowder’s suit was one of thousands consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of the Yaz multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Illinois. Black continued representing the plaintiff after the case had been consolidated in the MDL. 

The MDL court appointed Roger Denton as liaison counsel and Michael S. Burg, Michael London and Mark N. Niemeyer as interim lead counsel on Nov. 10, 2009. Despite the appointment of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to perform certain functions related to the MDL, Black retained core responsibilities relevant to Crowder’s case, including the task of responding to discovery directed toward the plaintiff and responding to dispositive motions, the suit states.

On Dec. 12, 2015, Bayer moved to dismiss with prejudice several cases, including Crowder’s case, after Black allegedly failed to conduct discovery during the time allotted. 

The plaintiff was given 14 days to file an opposition to Bayer’s motion. However, she alleges Black failed to file any response. 

As a result, former district judge David Herndon dismissed the case with prejudice on Jan. 11, 2016. 

“Had defendants responded to Bayer’s motion to dismiss thereby preserving plaintiff’s claim, a settlement between Bayer and plaintiff would have been probable, as Bayer had previously settled thousands of claims similar to plaintiff’s.

“As a result of the defendants’ negligence in failing to respond to the motion to dismiss, plaintiff’s claim was dismissed and she lost all right to recovery form Bayer for her injuries,” the suit states.

Crowder seeks damages determined by the court or jury, monetary damages and prejudgment interest. She is represented by attorney Robert J. Pavich of Pavich Law Group P.C. in Chicago.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 19-L-194


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