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Judge wants more female counsel in Mirena litigation

Leadership committee of plaintiffs included only men

The New York federal judge overseeing the litigation surrounding Bayer AG’s Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) has advice for plaintiffs counsel: get some women on this case.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel encouraged the lawyers representing the plaintiffs to include some women on the proposed leadership committee—considering the nature of the case.

Seibel is overseeing more than 50 cases that were consolidated around the Mirena litigation, in which plaintiffs claim the IUD could perforate a woman’s uterus and migrate to other parts of her body and that Bayer, the device’s manufacturer, failed to warn of this risk.

On Friday, four lawyers—all men—asked Seibel to appoint them to the executive committee for the multidistrict litigation. Considering the claims are specific to women’s issues, “I think that’s important,” Seibel said of requesting the committee to include women.

Some plaintiffs had previously expressed concern to Seibel over the proposed all-male leadership committee. In a letter sent earlier this month, “Michigan lawyer Alyson Oliver argued that the female plaintiffs in the litigation would benefit from having at least some qualified female attorneys who could relate to their challenges and promote that empathy to a judge or jury,” Thomson Reuters reported.

Plaintiffs lawyers plan to meet later this week to consider Seibel’s suggestion.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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