Goldman Ismail Successfully Opposes Consolidation in Mirena Litigation

On August 12, 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation rejected plaintiffs’ motion to consolidate nine cases filed in six districts in products liability litigation involving Mirena, an intrauterine device manufactured by Bayer Healthcare.  Plaintiffs alleged that Mirena increased the risk of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, leading to headaches and vision problems.  The JPML disagreed with plaintiffs’ counsel’s “conclusory assertions” that the number of cases would expand substantially and declined to create a new MDL.  The panel also noted that the highly individualized causation disputes in these cases are not appropriate for consolidation in an MDL.  As lead national counsel for Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Shayna Cook argued that consolidation was unnecessary given the relatively small number of cases and that informal coordination was more appropriate.  After briefing and oral argument, the panel agreed, ruling that informal coordination is "both practicable and preferable to centralization." The case is In re: Mirena Levonorgestrel-Related Products Liability Litigation, No. 2559, pending in the JPML.