This week the MDL Judge in the Paragard IUD lawsuits will consider a motion to dismiss filed by the manufacturers of the defective birth control device. The Paragard MDL has grown to include over 500 individual cases by plaintiffs alleging that their Paragard IUD fractured during removal resulting in severe pain and sometimes emergency surgery to remove the broken pieces inside their uterus.
About the Paragard Lawsuits
The Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD) used for birth control. It is a small plastic device shaped like a Y with a copper coil around the center. The device is inserted at the base of the uterus where is provides continuous protection against pregnancy for up to 10 years. The Paragard was designed to be easily removed at the doctor’s office.
Unfortunately, a defect in the design of the Paragard has caused major problems during the removal process for some women. The Paragard has a pair of arms at the base that are supposed to flex upwards to allow the device to be pulled out for removal. In many cases, however, these plastic arms become brittle and end up breaking off during removal, leaving small, sharp pieces of plastic inside the woman’s body.
As more and more women experienced Paragard fractures during removal and suffered serious health consequences, they began to file product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers of Paragard: Teva Pharmaceuticals and CooperSurgical. The rate of Paragard lawsuits increased rapidly and in December 2020 a new Paragard MDL was created in the Northern District of Georgia for consolidated proceedings.
Motion to Dismiss in Paragard MDL
Earlier this year, the defendants in the Paragard MDL filed a motion to dismiss the Paragard lawsuits. The motion to dismiss argues that the Paragard complaints are “shotgun” pleadings that fail to allege sufficient factual details to state a valid tort claim. The motion also argues that the design defect and failure to warn claims asserted by the plaintiffs are preempted by federal law.
Lawyers for the Paragard plaintiffs filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss. The opposition sets forth well-articulated arguments in response to both key points in the motion to dismiss.
On September 21, the Paragard MDL judge will hold a status conference and afterwards hear oral arguments on the motion to dismiss. A ruling will likely follow shortly thereafter. Similar motions to dismiss based on preemption have been filed in prior mass tort cases and they are usually not successful.
FAQs: Paragard IUD Lawsuits
What is an IUD?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device. It is plastic and T-shaped. An IUD is inserted into the uterus. It is reversible and long-lasting.
How are effective are IUDs?
IUDs are over 99 percent effective because they are foolproof. You do not need to worry about taking it or using it incorrectly. Depending on the IUD, it can protect you from pregnancy for up to 12 years
What are the available IUD brands?
There are five FDA-approved IUD brands. They are Paragard, Kyleena, Mirena, Liletta, and Skyla. Paragard is copper-based, while the other four are hormonal-based.
How does the Paragard IUD work?
Paragard works by preventing sperm from fertilizing the egg. Copper deters sperm from reaching the eggs. Paragard can also prevent implantation. It does not disrupt natural menstrual cycles or halt monthly ovulations. You can use Paragard as an emergency contraceptive. It is over 99.9 effective in preventing pregnancies if you receive it within five days of unprotected sex. If you choose to keep it in after five days, you can prevent pregnancies for up to 12 years.
How do hormonal IUDs work?
Hormonal IUDs such as Kyleena, Liletta, Mirena, and Skyla use progestin to prevent pregnancies. They prevent pregnancies by thickening your cervical mucus and inhibiting ovulation.
What are the complications with the Paragard IUD?
Paragard can cause severe complications when the arms fracture during removal, including: infection, pelvic inflammation, arms may become embedded in uterine wall or can even perforate the uterine wall.
What is Paragard IUD insertion like?
Your doctor may offer you medicine to open or numb the cervix before inserting the IUD. The provider will place a speculum into the vagina. They will then use a special device to assist with inserting the IUD into the cervix and uterus. This should take no more than five minutes.
What is Paragard IUD removal like?
Paragard IUD removal is supposed to be quick and simple. The healthcare provider gently pulls the string and the IUD arms fold up and the device slips out. In many cases, however, the arms of the Paragard fracture and break off during removal.