A California judge ordered that all California product liability lawsuits brought against Bayer Corporation and several subsidiaries involving its Essure birth control device will be coordinated before a single judge in Alameda County Superior Court going forward.
The Sept. 30 Order Granting the Petition for Coordination will facilitate efficient adjudication in the California court system and coordinate the efforts on behalf of all the women injured by Bayer’ s device. The case is Essure Product Cases and Coordinated Actions, Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4887.
Prior to Judge Winifred Y. Smith’s order granting the plaintiffs’ petition, there were some 55 actions brought throughout California by some 900 women who alleged that they sustained injuries from Essure. The suits contend that the Bayer product, an FDA-approved medical device that has been on the market since 2002, caused a number of problems and physical injuries in thousands of women who have had the device implanted.
Judge Smith ruled on Aug. 2, 2016, that the claims of 14 women were not expressly or impliedly preempted under federal or state law, allowing their claims to proceed. See California Judge Rules for Essure Plaintiffs in Preemption Issue
Black box warning
The FDA announced in February 2016 that the device will require a black box warning indicating extreme risks and possible serious injuries associated with its usage, and has instructed Bayer to engage in further post-market study of the device’s safety.
Plaintiffs’ counsel Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer and Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice argued for the coordination of all state court actions in the Essure litigation on Sept. 30 before Judge Smith in the Superior Court of California in Alameda County.
Kim Dougherty of Janet, Jenner & Suggs and Erin Copeland of Fibich, Leebron, Copeland, Briggs & Josephson, and Ed Wallace of Wexler Wallace also led in the representing of plaintiffs in the litigation. Also handling the case for Grant & Eisenhofer is Thomas Ayala.
Ms. Graham, who leads Grant & Eisenhofer’s complex pharmaceutical and medical device litigation practice, noted that having the Essure matters before a single judge as coordinated proceedings will greatly assist the thousands of women injured by Essure, enabling them to essentially litigate their claims in one courtroom.
“This is a very favorable development for these injured women. Having these cases coordinated before a single judge will avoid inconsistent rulings and allow these women to prosecute their claims in a cohesive and unified manner,” said Ms. Graham. “Coordinated proceedings in the Essure litigation will enable counsel to fast-track the case, streamline discovery. The JCCP coordination will hopefully bring a swifter judicial remedy to all the women who were injured by Bayer’s Essure procedure.”