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Mirena IUD Lawsuit Update: Bayer’s Motion to Dismiss Denied

The Food and Drug Administration has received thousands of complaints from women reporting problems with the Mirena IUD, including dislocation of the device. Often this means the device migrates to other areas of the woman’s body. A new ruling in one of the Mirena IUD lawsuits could have a substantial impact on similar lawsuits that are currently pending against Bayer.

In a Louisiana woman’s lawsuit regarding Mirena IUD against Bayer Pharmaceuticals, a motion to dismiss by Bayer was recently denied.

The woman, Latoya Thompson had the Mirena Intrauterine Device inserted in June of 2011. She claims to have begun experiencing pain and other problems at that time. The device dislocated approximately one week later and in May of 2012, she was hospitalized for her symptoms. One year later, Ms. Thompson and her husband filed suit against Bayer for her injuries under the Louisiana Product Liability Act, claiming that they were not adequately informed of the risks associated with the IUD and that Bayer misrepresented the IUD’s safety on the packaging by understating the number of adverse events that were reported.

Generally, Statutes of Limitation are in place to protect defendants. There are three reasons that support the existence of Statutes of Limitation, namely: (a) plaintiffs with good causes of actions should pursue them with reasonable diligence; (b) defendants might have lost evidence to disprove a stale claim; and (c) dormant claims have more cruelty than justice (Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th edition). The general rule is that the limitation period begins when the plaintiff’s cause of action accrues or is made to be aware of the injury that might have happened a long time ago.

According to the Louisiana Products Liability Act, the Statute of Limitations requires plaintiffs to file suit within one year from the time of injury or that claim could risk being forever barred. The Act states that the statute begins to toll when a plaintiff has actual or constructive knowledge of any facts indicating to a reasonable person that they are the victim of a tort.

Bayer claimed the lawsuit was untimely according to the statute. Judge Zainey, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, noted that on its face, the lawsuit was not filed in a timely manner. Ms. Thompson, however, submitted an affidavit alleging new facts regarding her timeline of events. More specifically, she stated that she had a Mirena device for five years without incident and did not begin having problems until a second device dislocated in June of 2011. The affidavit submitted by Ms. Thompson also stated that it was not until February or March of 2013 that she viewed a “television advertisement linking Mirena to the conditions she had when she was hospitalized a year earlier.

Bayer unsuccessfully argued that the court could not consider new facts that were not previously pleaded. Judge Zainey ruled that the affidavit did create an issue of fact as to whether the lawsuit was timely. Because of this, Judge Zainey allowed the case to proceed.

If you are a woman who is currently using the Mirena IUD, it is advisable to have it removed if you are experiencing any pain, abnormal bleeding, or any of these other serious side-effects. The described symptoms after removal don’t happen to every woman and are not dangerous, as long as suicidal thoughts do not become acute. On the other hand, a migrating IUD (one that moves from its intended location) can lead to internal injuries, multiple surgeries, miscarriage, and possible sterility.