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Defective IUD Lawsuit Restored on Appeal After “Manifest Error”

Written February 16, 2021

The Second Department of the Appellate Division for the State of New York has overturned a lower court ruling that dismissed the expert testimony of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit concerning defective IUDs. The Second Department said that the lower court also erred by granting summary judgment based on the supposed lack of evidence by the plaintiffs in the case. As a result, the case returns to the lower court for further proceedings.

The Basic Facts of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit concerns an intrauterine device (IUD) manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceutical, a major pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer. The IUD in question, Mirena, was discovered to cause a number of serious medical issues in women who it was implanted within, causing perforation of the uterus, organ damage, and a condition known as pseudotumor cerebri, which involves an abnormal buildup of fluid in the brain. These assessments were based in large part on the testimony of seven expert witnesses, who attributed these women’s medical conditions to the Mirena IUD.

This lawsuit, which is one of three currently ongoing against Bayer over the Mirena IUD, involves women who all suffered uterine perforations as a result of the medical implant. The lawsuit alleges that Bayer knew of the health risks caused by Mirena, but chose to downplay or conceal them for their own profit. It also alleges that Bayer engaged in deceptive advertising that failed to disclose the health risk of the Mirena IUD.

The Lower Court Ruling

The case came to a premature end after Bayer initially moved to have the case dismissed on summary judgment. According to them, the plaintiffs in the case had failed to establish general causation for their injuries, stating that the testimony of seven experts they had gathered was not admissible for that purpose. The lower court agreed, resulting in the case being dismissed.

The Case on Appeal

The Second Department disagreed with the lower court ruling, stating that the failure to take the expert testimony into account was a reversible error of fact. It went so far as to call the lower court’s decisions a “manifest error,” meaning that they completely misread the law with respect to admitting the plaintiffs’ expert testimony. As a result, the motion for summary judgment was reversed, meaning the case must now go back to the lower court to continue ahead.

This is a significant blow to Bayer, which is facing substantial legal liability due to the Mirena IUD. While no class action suit has yet been brought against the company, the number of cases against them, and the injuries alleged, could become costly. Considering the Second Department’s ruling, they will have a substantially harder time defending against allegations that the Mirena IUD caused these women’s injuries.


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