The New Jersey judiciary is considering a request from Passaic County judge for mass tort status for suits alleging strokes and other serious health problems from the oral contraceptives Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella.
With 13 suits filed in his court, Assignment Judge Donald Volkert Jr. wrote to Acting Administrative Director of the Courts Glenn Grant on Oct. 22 that “the case management and potential trial of this particular litigation would place a fairly substantial strain on our already limited resources.”
There are 26 suits against the contraceptives’ manufacturers pending in other counties, and Volkert said plaintiffs lawyers have told him the number could reach 1,000.
In a notice to the bar, the Administrative Office of the Courts says it will accept public comments until Dec. 31 on the proposal to centralize the cases in Atlantic, Bergen or Middlesex counties, where mass torts are heard.
Named defendants in the suits are Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, a German company with U.S. headquarters in Wayne, which makes Yaz and Barr Pharmaceuticals of Montvale, owned Teva Pharmaceuticals of Israel, which makes Ocella, a generic version.
Cited in Volkert’s mass tort application is a suit filed in Passaic, N.J., by 10 women from Texas and Tennessee who allege they suffer from deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and other problems due to the prescription drugs.
The suit asserts that “defendants should have known that Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella created a higher risk of pulmonary embolism than other oral contraceptives on the market.”
The suits allege that the drugs also contain drospirenone, an ingredient not in other oral contraceptives. Drospirenone is allegedly unlike other progestins in the United States and was not marketed in this country before its use in the three drugs.
In August, the British Medical Journal published two studies showing a higher risk of venous blood clots for women taking drospirenone than those who took other oral contraceptives.
And on Aug. 5, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Bayer for using low-quality batches of drospirenone from a plant in Germany.
Besides the potential for a large number of filings, the cases have several other indicia of a mass tort, Volkert wrote. They include:
• geographic dispersement of parties;
• consolidation by the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation of federal litigation over the three drugs in the Southern District of Illinois;
• risk of redundancy and inconsistent filings by different judges, resulting in undue delay and expense;
• existence of common issues of law and fact, as found by the MDL panel; and
• increased efficiency by having one judge oversee the issues.
Mass tort applications from lawyers typically request a specific venue among the three counties where cases are heard, but Volkert’s application did not.
If you or a family member has been personally injured because of the fault of someone else: by the use of dangerous and defective drugs, bad products, or toxic injury etc then please contact the Dallas Fort Worth Texas Yaz, Yasmin Product Liability Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.
The Dr. Shezad Malik Law is currently evaluating and accepting Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella Side Effect cases.
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