Yaz cases may be settling. This is big news for the thousands of women who took Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella and suffered from heart attacks, strokes or pulmonary embolism. The judge in the Illinois litigation abruptly canceled the Yaz bellwether trial (pulmonary embolism case), originally set for January 9. Judge Herdon, using the heavy hand of the law, is encouraging Plaintiffs and Defendants to sit down and talk with a mediator. The mediator assigned to the case by the judge is Professor Stephen Saltzburg of the George Washington School of Law. He’s got some good credentials, and I’m sure he’d love to add the “Yaz Settlement facilitator” feather to his overflowing cap of achievements.
Judges in MDLs have a lot of pressure to get things done. The MDL is so useful because it unifies cases that would otherwise be handled individually. Everyone has the same information, which makes it easier to put reasonable settlement or trial values to each lawsuit. One of the purposes of these bellwether trials is to get some preliminary data on how juries react to the cases, so that the parties can make informed decisions on settlement. Most cases settle after a few of these trials. In the Yaz lawsuits, the judge doesn’t think the bellwether cases will be useful at this time.