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Herndon to Hold Bellwether Trials if Yaz, Yasmin Mediation Fails

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U.S. District Judge David Herndon recently ordered an abeyance in nine bellwether trials concerning more than 10,000 injury lawsuits filed against Bayer of the contraceptives Yaz and Yasmin. He ordered that both parties enter into good faith mediation, and said that if Bayer and plaintiffs fail to mediate in good faith, he will remand cases back to the district where they were filed.

This order came after Bayer moved to exclude the opinions of former FDA Commissioner David Kessler. The plaintiff steering committee then moved to strip confidentiality from over 1,200 pages of documents, and wanted Judge Herndon to override German law that would open Bayer employees to criminal prosecution for privacy violations.

Herndon appointed Stephen Saltzburg to mediate negotiations between the parties, and offered this clarification on his ruling, “The court hoped the bellwether verdicts would help to shape the parties’ expectations and aid in the valuation of cases, thereby furthering the goal of facilitating settlements,” he wrote.

“Clearly, a plaintiff who is not satisfied with all settlement offers that come her way in any litigation has the option to reject all such offers, including the last one, and proceed to a trial that results in a verdict rendered by a jury or a judge.

“However, a strategy that contemplates trying thousands, even hundreds or dozens of cases of this nature is a disingenuous tactic for both sides given the expense on each side of the issue.

“The underlying rationale of ordering bellwether trials was that such trials would provide the parties with a representation of the value of the mill run case in this litigation.

“Since there are a variety of alleged injuries involved in this court, a number of bellwether trials were contemplated.

“As the trial date approached for the first bellwether case, Kerry Sims v. Bayer Corp., et al, it became clear that the bellwether process had completely broken down.

“Considering the totality of the circumstances, including the manner of preparation undertaken by the parties and the status of that preparation, the court concluded that obtaining bellwether verdicts at this time would not produce the hoped for results.

“Although bellwether verdicts will not presently be used to inform the process, the ultimate goal of facilitating settlement remains; mediation is simply an alternative method for achieving this end,” The Madison Record reported. disclaimer: This article: Herndon to Hold Bellwether Trials if Yaz, Yasmin Mediation Fails was posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 9:21 pm at and is filed under Defective Drug Lawsuits.

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