The first federal Yaz trial is not moving forward as planned.  While the highly anticipated trial was originally scheduled to begin the second week of January 2012, Judge Herndon, who is overseeing the federal Yaz cases in the Southern District of Illinois, has now ordered both sides to mediation.

On December 31, 2011, Judge Herndon appointed Professor Stephen Saltzburg of George Washington School of Law as Special Master, for the purposes of mediation.  Professor Saltzberg previously handled the mediation in over 25,000 Seroquel lawsuits.  In his Order, Judge Herndon opined that the interests of the plaintiffs and defendants will be “better served” by entering into mediation.  He further ordered the parties to meet with Professor Saltzburg without delay and to negotiate in good faith.  Pending the outcome of the mediation, Judge Herndon’s December 31, 2011, Order has stayed the scheduling in the balance of the bellwether federal cases.

However, Judge Martinotti, who is overseeing the New Jersey Yaz cases in Bergen County, New Jersey, has advised counsel for both parties to continue with bellwether discovery, including depositions.  While probably hopeful that the mediation in the federal case will have a positive effect on all Yaz cases, nationwide, Judge Martinotti likely does not want to delay the New Jersey cases, in the event that a settlement is not reached.  A Case Management Conference is currently scheduled for February 2012.

Interestingly, the alternative plan to send the parties to mediation comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voting 21 to 5 that the label on Yaz and Yasmin did not adequately warn users about the risk of blood clots, which is higher than other oral contraceptives.  The FDA further found that the label did not adequately warn about the increased risks for those users who smoke or are overweight.

If you feel you have experienced any side-effects from taking YAZ® or Yasmin®, you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the YAZ® or Yasmin®  manufacturers.