There are approximately 330 Zoloft birth defects lawsuits pending against Pfizer in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) established in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The first Zoloft bellwether trials are set to begin in 2014. As we have previously reported, the Zoloft lawsuits involving children who have suffered Zoloft birth defects have been consolidated into the MDL.
The selection process for the bellwether trials began in January 2013, and will consist of 25 lawsuits, which are chosen from those lawsuits currently pending. Twelve are chosen from Plaintiff’s lawyers, and the remaining 13 cases will be submitted by Pfizer’s lawyers. Following discovery and pretrial proceedings, the first federal bellwether case to be tried over congenital birth defect side effects linked to Zoloft is planned to begin by September 12, 2014. The outcomes of bellwether trials are intended to establish settlements for future claims against Pfizer regarding Zoloft. A bellwether trial is described as one that indicates future trends in a specific litigation and reveals any patterns that could exist regarding legal issues.
The Court has published two new Pretrial Orders on the Zoloft litigation’s website, one of which amends the previously established Joint Discovery and Scheduling Plan. The second Order posted by the Court governs the process for selection of the litigation’s Initial Discovery Group. All of the Zoloft birth defects lawsuits pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania claim that the SSRI drug taken during pregnancy can increase the risk of delivering a child with severe birth defects. Those birth defects linked with Zoloft include Zoloft heart birth defects and many more.
Some of those include: clubbed foot, oral clefts, cleft lip and cleft palate, delayed development, Autism, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), Gastrochisis, atrial and ventrical septal heart defects, pulmonary atresia, pulmonary stenosis, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), Transposition of Great Arteries, Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA), Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), skull defects, Craniosynostosis, neural tube defects of the brain and spinal cord, Anal Atresia, limp reduction defects, and Spina Bifida.
Pfizer knew all about the link between Zoloft and birth defects but did not provide sufficient warnings regarding the risks. With more public awareness regarding Zoloft and pregnancy lawsuits, it’s probable that more lawsuits will be filed against Pfizer. Our firm is handling Zoloft lawsuits. If you need more information, contact Roger Smith, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Roger.Smith@beasleyallen.com.