Jon Campisi Nov. 21, 2012, 8:52am

A 38-year-old woman who claims she developed a pulmonary embolism as a result of

having used the NuvaRing contraceptive device has filed a personal injury claim against the makers of the birth control product.

Angela Denise Washington, who resides in Baltimore, filed suit Nov. 19 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Organon USA Inc., N.V. Organon, Schering Corp., Merck & Co. Inc. and Merck Sharp & Dohme over allegations that she developed injuries a mere three months after she first began using NuvaRing in August 2004.

In early November 2004, the lawsuit states, Washington began to experience difficulty breathing, which caused her to go to the hospital, where a CT Scan revealed the pulmonary embolism.

The plaintiff was immediately placed on anticoagulation therapy, which included the drug Coumadin.

After two days, Washington was discharged from the hospital with instructions to remain on the medication.

Washington continues to see doctors on a regular basis for follow-up care.

The lawsuit alleges that prior to the plaintiff’s use of NuvaRing, the defendants knew or should have known that use of their product created a higher risk of venous thromboembolism than oral contraceptives.

The defendants negligently, recklessly, and carelessly marketed and sold their contraceptive without adequate instructions or warnings of its known serious side effects and unreasonably dangerous risks, the complaint states.

The companies actually ended up marketing NuvaRing as having a low risk of side effects, and they continue too minimize NuvaRing’s side effects by focusing on the incidence of minor side effects stating, “With NuvaRing there is a low incidence of side effects, such as headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness,” the lawsuit says.

The plaintiff in this case would not have used NuvaRing as a birth control method had she been properly warned of its serious side effects, the complaint states.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict products liability, breach of implied and express warranties, negligence, intentional and/or negligent misrepresentation, successor liability, and violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

Washington seeks damages in excess of $75,000, plus treble damages, attorney’s fees and other court relief.

The lawsuit was jointly filed by Philadelphia attorney Michael M. Weinkowitz, of the firm Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, and lawyers Neil E. McWilliams and Christopher G. Paulos, of the Florida-based law firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor.

The complaint says it is a potential tag-along action and should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri for inclusion in the NuvaRing Products Liability Multi-District Litigation.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-06506-JHS.

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