A national womens' group Friday accused A. H. Robins Co. of seeking shelter under federal bankruptcy laws to avoid fair payment to women injured by the company's Dalkon Shield birth control device.
Robins "is attempting to deprive these women of their day in court," said a motion filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond.
The action was taken by Washington attorney Aaron M. Levine on behalf of the National Womens Health Network and 69 women with damage suits pending against the pharmaceutical house. The network is a clearinghouse for women's health issues and has been active in Dalkon Shield litigation.
Being sought by the plaintiffs is either dismissal of Robins' bankruptcy petition or its transfer to a federal court in Washington.
Maintain Normal Operations
Robins filed for reorganization Wednesday under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code because of the "continuing burden of litigation related to the Dalkon Shield."
Company officials said the reorganization, expected to take several years, would enable the company to maintain normal operations while satisfying the thousands of pending and expected claims by Dalkon Shield users.
The motion to dismiss Robins' petition said the company "concocted its financial plight when it is, in fact, neither insolvent nor teetering on the verge of financial instability."
The company and its insurer already have paid awards or settlements of $378.3 million to 9,230 women who alleged injuries ranging from spontaneous abortions to sterility while wearing the intrauterine device.
Another 5,000 claims are pending and as many as 8,000 more are expected.