What Is the Paragard IUD?
An intrauterine device is a form of birth control that is inserted into the uterus. It is for women who cannot or do not want to use other forms of birth control. Some may be unable to use a product that involves the use of hormones. IUDs are marketed as safe ways to provide long-lasting protection from an unwanted pregnancy. However, they do not always live up to that promise.
Paragard is one of four different types of IUDs available on the market today. The other three kinds of IUDs rely on a steady release of hormones to provide birth control. Paragard is the only brand that does not rely on hormones.
Paragard consists of a small plastic t-shaped piece. It is wrapped with copper, which is the means of birth control. The copper is supposed to act as a spermicide. It produces an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that keeps the sperm from reaching the egg. The makers of the product claim that Paragard is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
The IUD is inserted into the uterus through a tube. The doctor then removes the tube, and the Paragard remains in the uterus. The procedure is done in the doctor’s office and does not require special surgery.
Once it is inserted, Paragard is supposed to work for 5-10 years. At some point, it will need to be removed from the body. There are two strings on the sides of the IUD that are supposed to help with removal. The company says this procedure can happen in the comfort of a doctor’s office and can be done in minutes. As you will see below, the reality is far different for thousands of women.
Parahard has been on the market since 1984. In 2017, Teva Pharmaceuticals sold the brand to The Cooper Companies when it wanted to sell off business lines to raise cash. Cooper paid over $1 billion for the brand.
What Are the Paragard Side Effects?
Like any foreign object inserted into the body, there are risks of Paragard side effects. Some are more serious than others. The normal side effects from Paragard are:
- Bleeding between periods
- Severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding
In addition, during insertion, women may experience dizziness, fainting, nausea, low blood pressure, or a slower than normal heart rate.
For purposes of the Paragard IUD lawsuit, there are different side effects that women are seeking payment for, and these are much more serious. They could have a significant impact on the woman’s quality of life and may require one or more surgeries.
The problem happens when the woman goes into the doctor’s office to have the IUD removed from her body. The company tells you that this is an easy and painless process, and it can be done in a matter of minutes. The truth is that this is only the case for some women. Others can have a nightmare experience that results in long-lasting harm that can ruin the rest of their lives.
Paragard is only supposed to be effective for ten years at the most. At a certain point, the device must come out of the body because it no longer works. As we described above, the device has strings attached that are supposed to make it easy to take out of the body. However, the problem is with the plastic and the rest of the device.
What the device makers apparently did not consider was the effect that ten years of time would have on plastic that is inside of the body. Over time, the plastic could degrade and deteriorate. In fact, the entire device could come apart. The serious problem occurs when the doctor pulls on the strings to remove the device from the body. The weakened plastic can fracture, sending small pieces scattering into the uterus. This can present a serious problem, especially when the doctor can not easily locate all of the fragments. In some cases, the breakage happens on its own before the doctor even tries to remove it as the plastic weakens over time.
Device breakage is not the only way that women have been injured by Paragard. Here are some of the other complications that could require medical treatment:
- The copper wire coming off the device and remaining in the body.
- The uterus could perforate when the doctor is inserting the device into the body.
- The foreign object in the body (plastic and copper) could cause infection.
- The IUD could migrate out of the place and damage internal organs.
While many of the lawsuits are because of IUD breakage, there have been reports to the FDA of the copper becoming separated from the plastic and requiring surgery to remove.
Paragard IUD Damage in the Body
The copper IUD is not the first time that something inserted into the body has broken apart. Hernia and transvaginal meshes are other examples of devices (although Paragard is regulated as a drug and not a device) that cause damage when they fragment. A foreign piece of plastic can cause serious damage when it floats around in the body.
In the case of Paragard, women have experienced the following when the IUD’s plastic has fractured inside the body:
- Damage to internal organs when plastic grates against them
- Infection from the pieces of plastic
- Severe pain
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Scarring inside the uterus
In the best-case scenario, the device does not fracture into small pieces, and the doctor is easily able to locate all of the fragments and remove them. This does not always happen. Many times, the pieces are too small for the doctor to locate all of them. In that case, the woman would need some kind of invasive surgery to remove the fragments. The possible medical procedures could include:
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove plastic pieces – this is the most minimally invasive option
- Laparotomy surgery – this is an open incision of the uterus that is similar to a c-section
- Hysterectomy – In a worst-case scenario, the doctor may need to completely remove the uterus to spare the woman from severe side effects that would otherwise last a lifetime.
Will There Be a Paragard Recall?
Given the fact that the number of reports of injuries to the FDA is nearing 2,000, we have been asked whether Paragard would be recalled from the market. It would certainly make sense to protect women from the harm that many have experienced through the pain and surgeries that happen when the plastic breaks off into their bodies.
In order for there to be a recall, either the product manufacturer or the FDA has to make a move. So far, neither of them has done anything to initiate a Paragard IUD recall. The FDA does not seem to think that the Paragard situation is serious enough to merit any kind of recall or restrictions.
There were previous Paragard IUD recalls, but they had nothing to do with safety issues. In 2014 and 2019, there were batches of the product recalled. However, the recalls were because of concerns about the effectiveness of the product. People were concerned that it simply would not work to prevent pregnancy.
For Cooper, they are clearly not going to take a product off the market when they just invested so much money into it. The company just bought the brand from Teva for over $1 billion, so recalling the product would just force them to take a very large writedown. You can expect that is the last thing that the company would ever want to do if they had a choice. Annual sales of this product approach $200 million, and the company would care more about their shareholders and bottom line than safety.
Therefore, it would be up to the FDA to force a recall of Paragard that would entirely take it off the market. Recent history has shown that the FDA has been relatively slow and reactive when it comes to dealing with product defects. While the FDA collects adverse event reports, it usually only does something after very deliberate action and many studies. In the meantime, reports of injuries pile up in its system.
Right now, the FDA is not talking about any IUD recall of Paragard. Normally, it takes months to years for the agency to act, even after there have been concerns, so you can count on this dangerous product remaining on the market for some time, and it may never be recalled.
How You Can Make a Successful Paragard Claim
In a Paragard lawsuit, you would be alleging a product liability claim against either Cooper or Teva Pharmaceuticals. You could file a lawsuit against Cooper even if Teva made the individual device that was implanted into your body because Cooper bought Teva’s liability when they bought the brand of IUD.
There would be several legal grounds in your Paragard IUD lawsuit like you would have in any product liability claim. Here is what would be included in your IUD lawsuit.
Strict Liability – If you could prove that the product was defective and that you were injured, Cooper would be liable if they cannot show that you were not using the product as intended. Here, you would need to show that there was a manufacturing or design defect that injured you. Plaintiffs can also argue that Cooper and Teva failed to warn them of the possible danger of the product, and they agreed to use the product because they did not know that it could harm them.
Here, many of the Paragard lawsuits are claiming that victims simply did not know of the possible harm that awaited them. In addition, they are also arguing that the design and composition of the plastic made it more likely to break apart in the woman’s body.
This is always going to be the first allegation in any product liability lawsuit because the plaintiff does not have to prove anything else other than:
- There was some type of defect in the product
- They were injured by that defect
However, there are other grounds that you could use to recover money in a Paragard IUD lawsuit. They would include:
Negligence – Even if you cannot prove an actual defect in the product, you could show that Teva and Cooper were negligent in designing or manufacturing ParaGard. Here, you would need to prove the following four elements:
- The Paragard product maker owed a duty to the plaintiff. Usually, any product manufacturer owes a duty to the people who buy and use their product to use reasonable care in making them
- Cooper and Teva breached this duty by not acting as a reasonable manufacturer would in making the product.
- You were injured by the product.
- You would not have been injured had it not been for the carelessness of the defendant.
Breach of Express or Implied Warranty – Most successful Paragard lawsuits would win their case through strict liability or negligence. However, there are other possible lawsuit grounds that you could use in your case. You could also claim that the product makers made an express or implied warranty that the product would work a certain way, and it did not.
Here, the manufacturer sold Paragard as something that was easy to take out of the body when it was time to remove the device. In practice, this has been anything but true. The experience of injured women is different than what they were promised when Paragard was marketed as a simple and effective product.
How Paragard Lawsuit Attorneys Can Help Me
As you can see, a lawsuit against Paragard will be very intensive when it comes to the science of the case. Your lawyer will have to show that it was a product defect that caused your serious injuries. Just showing that you were injured by tiny plastic pieces from your Paragard device is not enough.
This means that you need Paragard IUD lawyers who can get to the bottom of the product and its design. They must have the experience necessary to work with scientific experts to show exactly how your Paragard device was defective. This could be a very detailed discussion because your legal complaint must lay out exactly how the device was defective.
Then, your lawsuit against Paragard must also detail exactly how you were injured and the damages that you suffered. Your attorney would work with doctors to understand your medical records because they will need to describe and prove your injuries in detail so you can be paid for them. You will only be entitled to compensation if you can show your injuries.
This is how your Paragard lawsuit lawyer will help you:
- Your lawyer will speak with you at the initial consultation and will learn the facts of your case.
- Your attorney would explain your legal options and let you know whether you have a 2021 IUD Settlement Claim.
- They will work with scientific and medical experts so they could explain in a lawsuit exactly how the device was defective and how you were injured.
- Your lawyer may negotiate with Paragard if the company decides to try to settle the case. The chances are that a settlement would take time to negotiate because the company would try to settle your case for pennies on the dollar.
- Your attorney would evaluate any settlement offer and let you know whether it is fair or if you could receive more money by making a counteroffer.
- If you could not receive an IUD settlement, your lawyer would file a Paragard copper IUD lawsuit.
When You Need to File Your Paragard IUD Lawsuit
One of the first topics that we cover after clients come to us for an initial consultation is how long they have to file a lawsuit. You need to pay very close attention because each state has a time limit on when you can bring a court case. In order to receive a Paragard settlement, you need to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you will lose the right to a copper IUD settlement.
Pay very close attention to the date that you started experiencing pain. Usually, the date that you had the IUD removal procedure would start the time clock, but if you began to have pain from the device beforehand, that could begin the time period that you have to file a lawsuit.
What Is Happening with the Paragard Lawsuits Right Now? Have the Cases Settled Yet?
Right now, these lawsuits are still ongoing. There has been no settlement yet, but that does not mean that these cases will not settle in the future.
The number of cases that have been filed has increased to the point where the federal court system has taken action to make them more efficient. Right now, there are 136 Paragard cases that have been filed, and we expect the number to grow. Many of these lawsuits have been recently filed. This means that the defendants do not yet have as much incentive to settle the cases soon. They usually like to wait until the discovery phase of the case, after plaintiffs have had a chance to gather evidence.
These types of cases take time. It usually could take several years to work through the pre-trial process before there is even a trial date. Nonetheless, you cannot take a wait-and-see attitude towards filing a lawsuit because you lose the right to sue if you miss the statute of limitations.
These cases are now in federal court in Georgia. They are part of what is called a multi-district lawsuit where the cases proceed together until they reach trial. Then, each of the trials happens individually. As mentioned below, this is not the same as Paragard IUD class action lawsuits.
This does not mean that you have to physically go down to Georgia to file your lawsuit. Your attorney can file your case for you in Georgia federal court, and you would not need to physically go to Georgia. Trials are rare in mass tort cases, so you may receive your settlement without ever having to leave your home state.
Your Paragard IUD Settlement Claim
You are probably wondering how much you could get in an IUD settlement. This all depends on your damages. If your case goes to trial and you win, you may be eligible for the following types of financial compensation:
- Medical expenses associated with surgeries to remove the plastic pieces from the uterus
- Pain and suffering, which can be considerable, especially when the broken plastic can cause women constant discomfort and agony
- Lost wages for time missed from work for medical procedures, their recovery, and pain.
- Loss of enjoyment of life when the pain has kept the victim from being able to do what they enjoyed before the injury
It is hard to know at this point what the claim may settle for as that depends on what happens in the future period leading up to a possible Paragard trial.
Other IUD Lawsuits Have Been Successful
There have been two other instances of mass lawsuits against IUD manufacturers for product defects. Both of them resulted in financial compensation for a large number of injured women.
The first of these lawsuits turned out to be one of the bigger product liability lawsuits of all time. Many people remember the Dalkon Shield nightmare that plagued the life of hundreds of thousands of women back in the 1970s. This product was sold as a groundbreaking and revolutionary IUD for women who did not want to use another form of birth control.
The reality was that the Dalkon Shield was one of the more dangerous forms of contraceptive products on the market. Women suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease and a loss of fertility. Over 200,000 women eventually filed lawsuits against the company that made the Dalkon Shield, and they received compensation. It was enough to push that company into bankruptcy.
Dalkon Shield was not the only dangerous IUD on the market. Bayer sold a product called Mirena. This was a product that relied on a steady release of hormones to prevent pregnancy. The problem with Mirena is similar to the issues with transvaginal mesh. The IUD migrated out of place, and it damages internal organs. Eventually, Bayer Pharmaceuticals settled Mirena lawsuits for just around an average of $30,000 per claim.
While each lawsuit stands on its own and what happened in these other two lawsuits does not dictate the success of the Paragard lawsuits, at least there is some history of injured plaintiffs receiving financial compensation for defective IUD products. Given all of the injuries that women have suffered in the past from IUDs, it is a wonder how the FDA allows them to remain on the market.
How You Know if You Have a Claim
The best way to learn more about the strength of your case is by talking to a product liability attorney who sees these types of cases every day. You can discuss the facts of your case at the initial consultation. Bring your medical records to your attorney so they can get a better understanding of the facts. After learning more about what you went through, your attorney would advise you whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. First, your lawyer would need to investigate your case before they are ready to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Hiring a Paragard lawsuit attorney will not cost you any money upfront, and your attorney only is paid if you are.
Here are the answers to some questions that we are commonly asked about Paragard IUD lawsuits:
Is this an IUD class action lawsuit?
Not exactly. A Paragard IUD class action lawsuit would happen when each plaintiff joined in one common lawsuit to ask for financial compensation for their injuries. Each woman would file their own lawsuit against the company.
How Long Will a Paragard IUD Settlement Take?
This depends on how the defendants decide that they want to deal with the lawsuits. We see many defendants trying to cut their legal risk by settling cases, but it takes time. Sometimes, defendants will want to see how a few cases turn out at trial before they agree to settle cases.
How Much Can I Get in a Paragard Settlement?
This depends on a number of factors. When large cases like this settle, the defendant will set up a settlement fund, and you would send your claim to the fund for compensation. Your payment would depend on how badly you were hurt and how much you have suffered.
The only way to be eligible for a Paragard settlement if these cases are resolved is to start the legal process. You do this by contacting a Paragard lawyer to set up your no-risk initial consultation. Call us today at 844-373-7597 to discuss your case today.