Court of Appeals Declined to Revive Neurological Condition Lawsuit Related to Mirena IUD

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Court of Appeals Declined to Revive Neurological Condition Lawsuit Related to Mirena IUD
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On Tuesday, December 8th of 2020, a 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an attempt to revive the lawsuits of more than 900 women claiming neurological injuries allegedly caused by Bayer Pharmaceuticals’ Mirena IUD. This decision came after several other lengthy battles between Bayer and women allegedly harmed by the Mirena IUD.

The initial collection of Mirena IUD neurological-harm lawsuits was tossed over questions of the expert testimony’s credibility.

In the original hearing for this issue, U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer found that the expert testimony proposed by the plaintiffs and their legal counsel lacked credibility. This seems to be the primary action which sparked the arguments for an appeal. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits felt that the jury should have been allowed to draw their own conclusions regarding the testimony’s credibility, rather than the judge deciding for them.

However, in the case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, a relevant precedent and a case that laid out reliability criteria for future cases to follow, requires expert testimony to align with generally accepted science to be considered. Bayer argues that an inappropriate dismissal of the experts’ conclusion in the initial hearing was not a factor, rather the application of Daubert’s reliability criteria made the testimonies inappropriate.

The Mirena IUD has allegedly been linked to a neurological condition referred to as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) in addition to standard IUD risk factors.

The Mirena IUD (intrauterine device) is one of several T-shaped contraceptive devices that uses hormones to prevent pregnancy for 3-5 years when implanted in the uterus. While litigation against other IUDs exists, it has so far not been nearly as prevalent as the litigation against Bayer’s Mirena model. Organ perforation and device migration are risks associated with IUDs in general.

However, in one of the first rounds of Mirena IUD lawsuits, the women argued that they were not adequately warned of the possibility of these significantly harmful side effects. Bayer settled 4,600 of these cases with $12.2 million. However, these lawsuits did not include damages for another alleged side effect of the device: idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), also known as pseudotumor cerebri or “false brain tumors”.

IIH occurs when cerebrospinal fluid pools under the skull and increases pressure on the brain.

Sometimes referred to as false brain tumors, IIH is not actually cancerous. Instead, it can mimic the early symptoms of a brain tumor, such as blurred vision, headaches, and white noise in the ears. Some people suspect that one of the hormones in the Mirena IUD, levonorgestrel, can result in abnormal levels of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull, causing this condition. However, due in part to the dismissal of the expert testimonies in the Mirena IIH lawsuits, it is not clear whether this assumption is completely accurate.

However, if you or a loved one have suffered harm or may have suffered harm due to the Mirena or any other IUD, it’s important to reach out to a product liability attorney. IUDs are a relatively new form of contraceptive, and with any new pharmaceutical, unrecognized risks and defects are always a possibility. To learn more about the Mirena IUD litigation or to learn about options for recovery, talk to a product liability attorney.

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