By Wilma Wiliams
An IUD (intrauterine device) is a form of birth control that many women use in place of the birth control pill. The device is placed around the uterus to prevent pregnancy and is usually easy to install. However, removal of the device could pose complications for some women, and many of these women have filed lawsuits for their injuries.
Regarding the Paragard IUD, some women were injured when the IUD fractured in their uterine cavity. Teva Pharmaceuticals and Cooper Companies, the companies that make Paragard, are cited in lawsuits. Plaintiffs claim that the companies created a defective IUD and did not warn doctors that the device could break during the removal process. This is a point of contention since Paragard is marketed as being easy to remove.
What Injuries Does Paragard Cause?
If one of both IUD arms break, an invasive procedure is required to retrieve the broken pieces. Often, a doctor will use a hysteroscopy, a procedure in which the physician places an endoscope into the uterine cavity through the cervix. Patients may require laparoscopy or laparotomy, which is a procedure similar to a cesarean, to remove the IUD pieces. Some women also have to have a hysterectomy to remove the IUD, which means the woman will be permanently infertile.
Other women may experience heavy bleeding, cramps, or spots due to having the Paragard IUD, and others may be infertile because of the IUD even without having a hysterectomy. In most cases, patient injury occurs when the IUD is being removed, although some IUDs break long before they are removed.
Is an IUD Lawsuit a Class Action or Individual Lawsuit?
Paragard IUD lawsuits, much like lawsuits involving other brands of IUDs, are individual lawsuits. As of December 16, 2020, the lawsuits are being consolidated to form multi-district litigation (MDL) in Georgia’s Northern District. The MDL is officially named “In Re: Paragard IUD Products Liability Litigation.”
An MDL is often used in courts to expedite legal proceedings. Instead of having to try thousands of individual cases simultaneously, through a court system, a judge can deliver a pretrial ruling for all the cases at once. The MDL judge will usually allow a few of the cases to go to trial; these trials are known as bellwether trials. Whether the plaintiffs win in these trials will set a precedent for how negotiations will fare in the remaining cases.
It is important to note that MDLs are not the same as class action lawsuits. MDLs keep the cases separate while class actions merge all the cases into one large case.
Where to File an IUD Lawsuit
Paragard IUD lawsuits, much like the lawsuits for other IUD brands, are being filed all over the United States. The cases are being joined temporarily in Georgia federal court’s Northern District under MDL number 2974. This means that women who were negatively affected by the installation or removal of the Paragard IUD can file a medical malpractice or personal injury claim no matter what state they live in.
Have There Been Any Settlements in Paragard IUD Cases?
As of October 2020, there have not been any settlements in the Paragard lawsuits. Negotiations normally don’t start until some of the cases have gone to trial. The outcomes of the bellwether trials will be the starting point for settlement negotiations.
Lawyers who are defending plaintiffs in the Paragard IUD litigations are pursuing the highest possible settlements. No amount of money can erase the damage of a woman sustaining serious injuries to her reproductive system.
It’s important to speak to a qualified personal injury attorney about Paragard IUD lawsuits if you are considering filing a claim. Share all of your symptoms and any medical care you received regarding your IUD to determine the amount of your settlement.
Wilma Wiliams is a law school graduate and a part-time freelance blogger, focused on various legal topics such as personal injury, and bankruptcy. She’s passionate about educating the public on fighting for their rights, which is why she’s currently collaborating with Ask LLP: Lawyers for Justice, whilst actively sharing a part of her experience as a former lawyer.