Last week Bayer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, announced a $1.6 billion Essure settlement which will be used to compensate approximately 90% of the 39,000 or so women in the U.S. who filed claims alleging that Essure birth control caused their injuries.
The money itself is an eye-grabber, but what’s behind it may be even more extraordinary: women all over this country, bound together by nothing but a desire to make things right, fighting a modern David & Goliath battle.
For A Case for Women, the battle began in earnest in April, 2016. Our company was brand new: Essure was a longshot (most attorneys thought something called preemption would kill any viable legal action); I had no idea if our new vision about reaching women through heartfelt social media messages would even work – AND – I was paying for everything with My Own Money.
Risky? Yes. Gutsy? For sure.
But like so many other women at the time – especially the real heroes like Angie Firmalino, who started the Essure Problems Facebook group and would not stop until the fire she lit burned bright enough for the FDA to see it – I was determined to stand for up for injured women. And I was sick and tired enough of being pushed around in my own life that I was willing to take a risk.
Credit card in hand, with a small team including my daughter who bravely jumped off the cliff with me, A Case for Women began its almost-five-year year Essure campaign with an ad that simply said: “It’s Not in Your Head.” The words resonated with my personal experiences, and in my gut I just KNEW the message would resonate with other women too.
Thankfully it did.
Over the next 4.5 years, a total of 21,681 women would contact us about joining the lawsuit against Bayer.
Almost 4000 would sign up for legal action.
We would work with many of the top women attorneys who pushed this litigation forward: including Fidelma Fitzpatrick who is the Lead Counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the Coordinated Essure litigation in California and practices at Motley Rice, Elizabeth Graham from Grant & Eisenhofer, Karen Beyea-Schroeder from Karen Schroeder Law, Kim Dougherty from Andrus Wagstaff, Laura Yaeger from Yaeger Law, Lori Andrus from Andrus Anderson, Erin Copeland from Fibich Lebron Copeland Briggs, and Sindhu Daniel from Baron & Budd.
And we would change from a mom and her daughter sitting on the couch talking to women about Essure, into a mom and her daughter running a national operation with over 50 people dedicated to helping women who have been hurt by a myriad of corporate and institutional tragedies: Sexual Assault by Uber and Lyft drivers, Abuse by the schools and churches we trusted to keep us safe, Cancer from Johnson & Johnson’s ubiquitous baby powder, and more.
It took a real village to reach this historic settlement, and today I am filled with gratitude for the women like Angie who paved the way, the women attorneys who supported A Case for Women, and the injured women who bravely signed up for legal action without any guarantee of how this would all turn out.
I hope you deeply understand what a difference you have made.
President, A Case For Women