OAKLAND – A number of product liability suits brought against a birth control manufacturer on behalf of 900 women will have those cases coordinated before one judge in Alameda County Superior Court.
Approximately 55 suits have been brought against Bayer Corp. in regard to its Essure birth control medical device that the women allege have caused a number of problems and injuries when it was implanted in them. Bayer markets the Essure device as a permanent birth control solution for women who are done having children.
“We are very pleased with this order, as the women who have been injured by the Essure device now can move forward with their cases in a coordinated, unified and efficient manner," Elizabeth Graham, director at Grant & Eisenhofer, told the Northern California Record.
The move to consolidate into a single court will allow the plaintiffs to take advantage of the expertise of several law firms all working on cases on behalf of the women against Bayer. It also will eliminate any alleged inconsistent rulings that could occur in other courts, giving the women an opportunity to have a more united front on the cases.
“Absent a coordination, our clients and other injured women were at a disadvantage,” Graham said. “Bayer is a multi-billion-dollar corporation with infinite resources and had been employing a "divide and conquer" approach, attacking single cases and attempting to garner favorable rulings, then have those rulings applied universally. The coordination brings together other firms like G&E into a single court, to work cooperatively in a coordinated fashion on behalf of all of the victims.”
Graham, along with Fidelma Fitzpatrick from Motley Rice, petitioned for the motion to move the cases to one court, which was approved by Judge Winifred Y. Smith of the Alameda County Superior Court where the cases will now be heard.
“Women now know they are not alone in this fight,” Graham said. “The coordination enables women to benefit from multiple law firms' resources, unified in their efforts to obtain justice for these women. The coordination, in essence, seeks to level the playing field against a multi-billion-dollar national corporation that is trying to avoid answering for its misconduct.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required that Bayer’s Essure medical device come with a black box warning describing the risks and injuries associated with implantation of the device. That requirement is in addition to Bayer performing additional studies on the device’s safety for its users.
The Essure medical device was approved by the FDA in 2002. Women have alleged they have had symptoms that range from cramping, vomiting and dizziness to chronic pain and osteoporosis. In some instances, the only way to reportedly relieve the symptoms is by undergoing a hysterectomy.
The plaintiffs in the cases against Bayer are being represented by Thomas Ayala of Grant & Eisenhofer; Kim Dougherty of Janet, Jenner & Suggs; Erin Copeland of Fibich, Leebron, Copeland, Briggs & Josephson; and Ed Wallace of Wexler Wallace.