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After False Start in State Court, Zoloft Lawsuit to Proceed in Federal Court

ZOLOFT Lawsuit SettlementsAfter running into a snag in state court, a Florida mother’s lawsuit alleging Zoloft birth defects was successfully removed to federal court, where it will likely join the Zoloft MDL

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Lawsuit was first filed with 18 other plaintiffs

The mother originally filed her Zoloft lawsuit on behalf of her minor child on July 11, 2012 in the West Virginia Court Court for Wayne County, which is a state court. The joint lawsuit included 18 other plaintiffs in addition to the Florida mother. But in state court, each plaintiff must have his or her own individual civil action number, which allows each case to be docketed individually. In addition, defendant Pfizer contested the joint lawsuit on grounds of fraudulent misjoinder, meaning that plaintiffs who should have separate trials were improperly joined in one lawsuit.

On September 25, 2012, the Florida mother’s case was successfully removed to federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Huntington Division).

Lawsuit alleges Pfizer knew of birth defects from Zoloft

The Zoloft lawsuit alleges that the minor plaintiff was born with congenital birth defects caused by the mother’s use of Zoloft while pregnant. Further, the plaintiff’s Zoloft lawyer claims that the “defendants knew or should have known that Zoloft causes serious birth defects,” but failed to warn patients of the drug’s dangers.

Studies have linked the use of SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft during pregnancy to severe, life-threatening birth defects including cardiac defects, atrial septal defect, limb abnormalities such as club foot, cleft lip and cleft palate, craniosynostosis (malformation of the skull), anal atresia (the partial or complete closure of the anus), anencephaly (missing parts of the brain), and omphalocele (a condition in which intestines protrude outside the body from the navel). Children born with such birth defects often require multiple surgeries and lifelong medical care and treatment.

The Florida mother’s lawsuit brings counts of design defect, failure to warn, strict liability, negligence, gross negligence, negligent pharmocovigilance, and pecuniary loss.