Federal Court NuvaRing MDL Developments: Judge Moves First Bellwether Trial Date To January 2014 With Mediator Involvement Mentioned
UPDATE: "Merck to pay $100 million in NuvaRing contraceptive settlement" (2/7/14, Reuters)
From Merck's Quarterly Report for the period ended June 30, 2013, at page 19, we get this NuvaRing lawsuits update:
As of June 30, 2013, there were approximately 1,500 NuvaRing cases. Of these cases, approximately 1,285 are or will be pending in the NuvaRing MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri before [NuvaRing MDL] Judge Rodney Sippel, and approximately 200 are pending in coordinated proceedings in the Bergen County Superior Court of New Jersey before Judge Brian R. Martinotti....
Pursuant to orders of Judge Sippel in the NuvaRing MDL, the parties originally selected a pool of more than 20 cases to prepare for trial and that pool was then narrowed to seven cases from which the first trials in the NuvaRing MDL will be selected. Judge Sippel recently denied the Company’s motion for summary judgment in the first NuvaRing MDL trial which is expected to take place in January 2014.
According to the Merck 2012 Annual Report / Form 10-K (PDF), at page 110, there were approximately 1,315 NuvaRing cases filed against Merck at the start of January 2013, with about 1,105 of those NuvaRing lawsuits being part of the federal court NuvaRing MDL.
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As regards Judge Sippel's ruling on Merck's motion for summary judgment, from this July 17, 2013 article, "Mo. Federal Judge Denies Organon Summary Judgment on NuvaRing Punitive Damages Claim", from HarrisMartin Publishing (subscription required):
A Missouri federal judge has denied Organon USA Inc.’s motion for summary judgment on a NuvaRing plaintiff’s punitive damages claim, finding the device's label does not foreclose punitive damages because it does not explicitly warn of the difference in risk of venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism.
On July 12, Judge Rodney W. Sippel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri also rejected Organon’s assertion that New Jersey, rather than Missouri, law applies to the claim.
And concerning the first NuvaRing MDL trial date being moved from October 2013 to January 27, 2014 by means of Judge Rodney Sippel's July 30, 2013 Order. From the conclusion of this Order we get an interesting mention of a development that suggests possible settlement negotiations:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties are ordered to maintain regular and frequent contact with the mediator who will report the status of any negotiations to the Court.
We will continue to provide NuvaRing lawsuits updates and report on any developments as regards a possible settlement of the NuvaRing litigation by Merck.