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Judge Continues to Give Parties Time to Negotiate Yaz Settlements

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The first Yaz bellwether trial in the Illinois MDL was scheduled to take place in January 2012, but that didn't happen. Chief Judge David R. Herndon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, who is overseeing pretrial proceedings in the MDL, signed an order delaying that trial on December 31, 2011. At the time, the judge made it clear that the bellwether plan, in his opinion, wasn't going to serve the interests of the plaintiffs or the defendants.

Instead, the judge ordered both parties into mediation with special master Professor Stephen Saltzburg of the George Washington School of law. Since then, Bayer has settled over 600 cases, paying an average of $218,000 per Yaz settlement.

Since things seem to be rolling along smoothly, the judge again pushed back all pretrial deadlines on April 19, 2012—for the third time giving Bayer and each Yaz lawyer the chance to resolve as many lawsuits as possible.

Plaintiffs Likely to Claim Blood Clot Injuries in a Yaz Lawsuit

So far, all plaintiffs who have negotiated a Yaz settlement have claimed injuries related to Yaz blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and stroke. Several scientific studies have confirmed that birth control pills with the progestin "drospirenone," like Yaz and Yasmin, increase the risk of blood clots more than older birth control pills.

Based on this research and on numerous reports of adverse events related to drospirenone-containing pills, the FDA released an announcement on April 10, 2012 stating that new warnings concerning the risks of blood clots will be required on all these products, including Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, and Safyral. The warnings stated that the risk with these products could be two-to-three times greater than the risks with older, more established oral contraceptives.

Though Bayer has maintained that its products are safe, the company has recently pursued settlements for each Yaz lawsuit, perhaps in response to the increased study results and FDA warnings. Even after the number of cases resolved, however, more than 11,000 remain.

Claims of Gallbladder Disease

The latest extension signed by Judge Herndon gives both parties another 90 days to find solutions. That means that the first bellwether trial will now begin no sooner than late September 2012.

Though a Yaz lawsuit is often likely to bring counts of negligence and failure to warn concerning the risk of blood clots, other plaintiffs have complained of gallbladder disease. A Yaz lawyer is likely to note the 2011 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which found a small increased risk of gallbladder disease in patients taking pills containing drospirenone. More studies need to be done, however, to confirm the link, and so far, it looks as though Bayer is planning on defending its drug against claims of gallbladder disease.

Each Yaz Lawyer Working Toward Settlements

For now, the negotiations continue on each Yaz lawsuit, as plaintiffs work to procure a Yaz settlement. Experts estimate that before the dust clears, Bayer will have paid out over $2.5 billion. We'll see what happens in 90 days.

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  1. Katie J says:
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    I’ve seen reports of settlements being in the $200K+ range. Is it really worth the patients’ time to file suit? That’s not a lot of money considering the fees. Let’s not forget about subrogation. If you get a settlement, depending on where you live, if an insurance company covered your medical bills, say bye bye to that money. If you’re getting $250K, you’re left with about $167K after the 33.3% is deducted. What if your medical bill was $80K. You now have $87K after the insurance company is reimbursed. Now, subtract the attorney fees that aren’t included in the 33.3%, expert witness fees, miscellaneous legal fees and fees from any additional negotiators/mediators that have to be hired. What’s the patient left with after $250K? Maybe $30-$50K. Will that cover future complications? What if the patient ends up not being able to have kids because of this drug and they don’t find out until 5 years later? Have they signed their rights away? Bayer made about $3 BILLION in 2011. Why aren’t the victims getting more? Ridiculous! (repost this on as many Yaz blogs as possible)