A bellwether trial for the first federal NuvaRing lawsuit is set for October 21. The jury will consider punitive damages, to punish the manufacturers for failure to adequately warn about the increased risk of blood clots associated with the NuvaRing contraceptive device.
Nuvaring claims have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Sipple, as part of an MDL or Multidistrict Litigation, which is centralized in the Eastern District of Missouri. The complaints allege that Merck and their Organon subsidiary failed to properly warn about the risk of blood clots from NuvaRing, which may lead to serious side effects of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and death.
First Trial Plaintiff’s Claim
Marianna Prather alleges that she suffered a severe pulmonary embolism from NuvaRing. Prather brought several claims for inadequate warnings, negligence, design defects, manufacturing defects, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty and violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
Judge Sipple allowed Prather’s punitive damages claim, finding that a jury may consider whether the drug maker exhibited a complete indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of consumers.
The NuvaRing MDL lawsuits as of July 2013, have increased to 1,217 from 1,163 in May 2013.
What is NuvaRing?
NuvaRing is a vaginal contraceptive device manufactured by Merck’s Organon subsidiary, which is placed once a month to provide contraceptive protection. The birth control ring releases slowly a combination of ethinyl estradiol and the “third generation” progestin etonogestrel.
Benefits of Bellwether Trials
The bellwether trials are being closely watched, as the outcomes may determine how juries will respond to evidence and testimony in the trials. Positive plaintiff verdicts may encourage NuvaRing settlement discussions and avoid lengthy trials that would be scheduled in each case.
Shezad Malik is an Internal Medicine and Cardiology specialist, a licensed Texas Medical Doctor and Defective Medical Device and Dangerous Drug Attorney. Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others.