In a status update two months ago, I told you that settlements in the NuvaRing cases may be imminent and I gave you my thoughts on the potential settlement value of these claims. Both parties spending less energy on getting these lawsuit ready for trial and instead focusing on whether these actions can be settled in massive number. So we can’t be surprised by the latest next that there has been yet another postponement for the first NuvaRing bellwether trial. Originally scheduled to be tried earlier this year, the MDL trial date has been postponed several times by the judge assigned to the class action proceedings.
What is NuvaRing and what is the problem?
NuvaRing, a flexible plastic ring that is inserted once a month by women, not their doctor. Once inserted, the ring gives off a continuous dose of hormones designed to prevent pregnancy. No appointment necessary, nice and convenient, right? Well, for some, convenience can come with a price. While all hormone-based birth control carry risks of blood clots, medical studies indicate that NuvaRing users are more likely to experience dangerous and can cause the the woman’s blood hardens from a liquid to a solid. Specific problems include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), stroke, heart attack, and death. Compared to some types of birth control, NuvaRing doubles these risks—or more. The FDA examined and confirmed the problem in 2011; however, Merck & Co., manufacture of NuvaRing, failed to warn users of the increased risks in any of their advertisements. Since then, hundreds and hundreds of former users have filed NuvaRing lawsuits.
Where the cases are going
These case have multiplied like rabbits. It began with a scattering of cases, In May 2012, just under 900 cases were filed in the federal court system. Now, with over 1,400 cases brought in the U.S. District Courts, these cases have become part of a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). These cases are brought together as part of coordinated proceedings for the purpose of common discovery and settlement talks. As part of the proceedings, a small group of cases go through case-specific discovery in preparation for early trial dates, known as bellwether trials. I’d love to see a bellwether case go to trial because I think plaintiffs’ would win it. A bellwether case is basically a test case, allowing the parties to see what a jury will do with average claim to help everyone figure out what the values of the case really are. But I think the defendant thinks the same way and they seem to be going out of their way to avoid a trial before these cases start to settle.
Originally scheduled for January 27, 2014, the first bellwether case scheduled for trial has been pushed back to April 7, 2014, just the most recent of several postponements. The judge has also put a hold on all discovery, motions, and rulings in any of the federal NuvaRing cases filed until the end of this year. The judge is looking for a more accurate “census” of the cases that are being pursued, whether they are pending in federal court, state court, or have yet to be filed. This desire for a “more accurate census” seems to jive with what I have been saying: a global resolution to settle the NuvaRing cases may get done in 2013.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a NuvaRing you need to talk to someone quickly because your rights may be expiring very quickly. Contact us at 1.800.553.8082 or online here. We can tell you the latest 411 on the these claims and help you figure out if you should bring a suit.
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