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Settlement Reached In Copper 7 IUD Trial

April 6, 1989

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A settlement was reached during the trial of a product liability lawsuit brought against G.D. Searle & Co. by a woman who claimed the company’s CU-7 intrauterine contraceptive device left her infertile.

Terms of the settlement, reached Tuesday during the two-month-long U.S. District Court trial, were not disclosed. Judge Mariana Pfaelzer sealed the agreement with a confidentiality order, Searle spokeswoman Kay Bruno said Wednesday in Chicago.

Laura F. McCarthy, a former Los Angeles resident who lives in Butte, Mont., was among about 800 women who have sued the pharmaceutical firm over its CU-7 copper IUD. She claimed it made her infertile.

About 330 of the cases have been disposed in favor of Searle, and some 420 cases are still active, Bruno said. The settlement in McCarthy’s case was reached before closing arguments were made to the jury.

Roger Brosnahan, McCarthy’s attorney, said the confidentiality order was made at Searle’s request.

″As far as the case is concerned, we destroyed their foundation of defense for this product. ... I think it’s a clear turning point in the litigation,″ said Brosnahan, whose firm is handling 150 to 200 lawsuits against Searle over the CU-7 device.

He declined to directly characterize McCarthy’s reaction to the settlement.

McCarthy’s lawsuit first came to trial under senior U.S. District Judge Irving Hill in January. But Hill declared a mistrial, saying rough tactics and delaying measures by attorneys on both sides were threatening his health.

Although most of the cases thus far have favored Searle, the company was ordered last year to pay a Minnesota woman $8.75 million in damages.

Brosnahan said the next CU-7 case for his firm was scheduled for May 15 in St. Paul, Minn.

″We’re going to keep pounding on their doors and bringing them before juries until everybody recognizes how bad this product is, and how bad Searle’s conduct was,″ he said.

Searle said it stopped selling the CU-7 in the United States in January 1986 because it could not get insurance due to the many lawsuits. Approval of the device from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remains in effect.