A federal judge dismissed a Yaz class action lawsuit. No, not the Yaz/Yasmin/Ocella lawsuits where women were injured from taking Yaz. This was a different lawsuit that seeks class-action status to California women who alleged not physical harm but economic injury. The lead plaintiff’s argument was an interesting one: they picked YAZ as an oral contraceptive, as opposed to selecting an equally effective cheaper oral contraceptive, because of the direct-to-consumer advertisements containing material omissions regarding the limitations and/or approved uses of Yaz.
Maybe this claim makes sense. I don’t know. But the judge shot down the idea of the lead plaintiff because she is a friend and co-worker of one of the class attorneys. The court addressed the problem with the plaintiffs in many of these economic injury class action claims:
Given that the potential recovery for plaintiffs is minimal compared to the potentially high amount of attorneys’ fees that may be awarded, Ms. Burns may be more concerned with helping to maximize the monetary return of her ‘good friend’ and co-worker (counsel’s wife) than with her duty to zealously advocate on behalf of the class’ interests,” the judge said. “Considering this, the Court finds that Ms. Burns is not sufficiently independent of class counsel and does not satisfy the adequacy of representation prong.
I’m inclined to agree. I think courts have to be a little more circumspect with economic class action cases, even those involving an awful product like Yaz. The plaintiff and proposed class representative was a good friend of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s wife. The wife told the soon to be lead plaintiff at work that her husband was having difficulty locating a suitable class representative. I don’t handle these types of no-injury economic loss cases. So I don’t know how to frame my position on this legally. But if you can’t find a good plaintiff, you probably should not be representing the class in my opinion.