July 29, 2016 — U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel has dismissed all 1,225 federal Mirena lawsuits after ruling that a jury cannot decide whether Mirena causes uterine perforations after insertion without hearing expert testimony.
Problems began in March, when Judge Seibel blocked testimony from all four plaintiffs’ experts because they were “unqualified or unreliable,” but allowed testimony from all seven of Bayer’s experts.
In the July 28 order (PDF), Judge Seibel wrote:
“The court reaches this conclusion reluctantly, knowing that it will doom hundreds of cases, but in the court’s view it is compelled by the law.”
Mirena is a T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the uterus, where it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. Bayer warns that it can perforate the uterus during the insertion procedure, but vigorously denies that perforations can occur at other times.
Around 3,000 women who filed lawsuits disagree, and they have the medical records to back it up. Some women had no problems for years, with normal check-ups and no missing threads — until suddenly experiencing excruciating pain, bleeding, or other symptoms.
In other cases, women who noticed missing threads underwent ultrasounds or X-rays, which was when doctors located Mirena in the abdomen, intestines, or embedded in the uterine wall. They had to have surgery to remove Mirena.
The first lawsuits were filed in 2011. In 2013, they were centralized under Judge Seibel in Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2434) in New York. While those cases are now dismissed, another 1,800 lawsuits are still pending in a mass-tort in New Jersey state court. Bayer is also still facing lawsuits claiming that Mirena causes brain injuries.