Next month, federal judges will have to decide whether or not to centralize all Zoloft related birth defect lawsuits that have been filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States. Personal injury attorneys will have to prepare oral arguments for the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on March 29, 2012 in San Diego, California.
Oral arguments will give defense attorneys representing Pfizer (Zoloft’s distributor) a chance to present their case as to why they wish to consolidate all of the separate lawsuits into one MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the southern district of New York. Personal injury attorneys believe this is an attempt by Pfizer to move the cases to a district that will be more lenient on them. Attorneys also argue that Pfizer has improperly removed approximately 49 Zoloft cases filed in state court to create the illusion that many cases are still pending.
Pfizer’s attorneys argue that a consolidation of cases will help reduce duplicated discovery and conflicting pre-trial rulings, as well as serve witness convenience.
Zoloft entered the market in 1991 to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. By 2007, it was the most prescribed antidepressant in the US, having been prescribed 30 million times. Pfizer was slammed with a number of lawsuits after children of mothers taking Zoloft during pregnancy were born with defects and malformations, including pulmonary hypertension, spina bifida, and defects of the heart, lungs, abdomen, cranium, and other parts of the body. the lawsuits were originally filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Pfizer and a PA based company that produced the patient education monograph included with the prescriptions.
Studies suggest that Zoloft increases the risk of birth defects when used during pregnancy, as early as the first trimester, when most women don’t even know they are pregnant.
If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a defective product, medical device, or pharmaceutical drug, you are more than likely entitled to compensation for your sustained damages. Contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation by calling, toll-free, 1-800-MessaLaw. You may also submit a free online inquiry. For immediate assistance, click on the CHAT LIVE icon to the right.