In an effort to gain an advantage in the Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella personal injury litigation, Bayer launched an assault on the Philadelphia County Mass Tort program and the experienced judges who administer it. Bayer recently filed a King’s Bench petition asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to hold that the Philadelphia County Mass Tort program is an inconvenient form for Bayer to defend lawsuits by out-of-state plaintiffs who suffered side effects ranging from Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolisms, Strokes, Heart Attacks, and Gall Bladder problems while taking Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella.
Bayer’s lawyers argue that the cases should either be scattered in state courts across the country or consolidated in the Yaz federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Obviously, sending the cases to state courts across the country would be the least efficient way to manage the cases emanating from the public health crisis caused by Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. Among other problems, it would lead to inconsistent rulings across the country. It would also create overlapping trial schedules which could render it virtually impossible for plaintiffs’ chosen trial counsel and experts to be present when each case is called to trial. Additionally, in the Philadelphia Mass Tort program, which has the benefit of nearly two decades of refining its practices and procedures, cases get to trial much more quickly than they do in MDL’s. This is antithetical to Bayer’s litigation strategy of delaying cases from proceeding to trial—a strategy common to mass tort defendants natiowide. Notably, the Pennsylvania Superior Court denied Bayer’s effort to gain this tactical advantage.
Pennsylvania is the appropriate forum for victims of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella to file and litigate their lawsuits. Pennsylvania is the United States headquarters for Bayer. The record abounds with facts that support but one conclusion: that the Philadelphia County is the most appropriate state court form for litigation and trial of Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella personal injury cases. Bayer’s birth control pills were distributed from Pennsylvania, and most of the domestic are located in Pennsylvania or just outside its borders, within 140 miles of the Philadelphia courthouse. Pennsylvania has a compelling interest in encouraging its corporate residents such as Bayer, to market and place safe drugs into the stream of commerce. 60 million pages were produced by Bayer’s counsel in Pittsburgh. Sales force training, market research, marketing, study investigations, monitoring and coordination, medical communications and medical trials” take place in Pennsylvania
Based on our experience litigating forum non conveniens in Philadelphia against Bayer Corporation, and prevailing, the lawyers at the Levensten Law Firm believe that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will find that Philadelphia County is an appropriate forum for Yaz litigation and trial.