Three reported Dalkon Shield victims were among five persons named yesterday to a new committee to represent more than 200,000 women who have filed claims against A. H. Robins Co., the manufacturer of the intrauterine contraceptive device.
The three members include lawyers Nancy Worth Davis, a clinical professor and bankruptcy specialist at George Washington University's National Law Center, and Ann E. Samani, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court administrator in Lexington, Ky. The third is Dr. Helen R. H. Clemo, a physiologist and biophysicist at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.
Davis told a reporter that a shield caused her to suffer an infected miscarriage in 1970 or 1971 and that she has filed a claim. Samani confirmed only that she had been harmed. Lawyers close to the case said Clemo also was harmed by the device, but she declined to comment.
The other two panelists are shield plaintiffs' lawyers Judith J. Rentschler of San Francisco and Gorman H. King of Fargo, N.D.
William C. White, the U.S. trustee in the strife-ridden Robins bankruptcy case, chose the five panelists under an order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr. Merhige has presided in the financial reorganization since Robins filed under Chapter 11 last Aug. 21.
White said he may appoint two more members. The panel's "first order of business" will be to "select a chairman and counsel," he said.
Rentschler and King were among the 38 members of the original committee of claimants' lawyers that Merhige dissolved on March 4 over the protest of Chairman Mary Beth Ramey of Indianapolis.
Merhige, who said six months were "lost" in bickering over the case, accepted White's undocumented contention that the committee had become "unmanageable."
On Friday, Ramey asked Merhige to reconsider his dissolution of the committee.
He set a hearing for Saturday while telling White to go ahead with appointing the new panel. Yesterday, Ramey said she will argue that the new panel "could create undue delay."
The shield product-liability cases of about 5,100 U.S. women were frozen by the Chapter 11 filing.
Merhige set an April 30 deadline for alleged victims of the device in at least 80 countries to file claims; at least 200,000 have done so, bankruptcy clerk Michael M. Sheppard estimated yesterday.
Some lawyers, accountants and others who are requesting a total of more than $2 million in fees -- to be paid out of the Robins estate -- face sharp questioning at a court hearing on April 28.
Merhige has criticized certain billing rates, including a request for $60 an hour for paralegals.