JPML Establishes Zoloft Multidistrict Litigation in Pennsylvania
In an order dated April 17, 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated 57 federal Zoloft lawsuits into the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The panel assigned Judge Cynthia Rufe to oversee the proceedings. Though Zoloft lawyers for the plaintiffs opposed centralization, the panel asserted that bringing each lawsuit into one court will increase efficiency and serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses involved.
Plaintiffs oppose Zoloft side effects lawsuit centralization
Defendant and manufacturer Pfizer originally moved for consolidation of the 57 actions mentioned, and were later notified of 35 related actions pending in various federal districts.
The majority of the plaintiffs, represented by their Zoloft lawyer, opposed centralization, claiming that Pfizer had improperly removed more than 40 actions from state to federal court. They suggested instead that the removed actions be excluded from centralization, or that transfer to the MDL be deferred pending rulings on motions to remand to state court.
JPML disagrees with arguments of plaintiffs’ Zoloft lawyer
The panel argued that jurisdiction objections do not overcome the efficiencies that can be realized by centralized Zoloft lawsuit proceedings.
The plaintiffs further argued that though most of the cases entail claims of Zoloft birth defects, they do not share sufficient common questions of fact, since the injuries alleged and the factors causing them vary. The panel did not agree and stated that even though the specific defects may vary from one lawsuit to another, “all actions will share discovery relating to general causation, while factual discovery will overlap concerning Pfizer’s research, testing, and warnings.”
Centralization of each federal Zoloft lawsuit more convenient
The panel concluded in the order that the 57 actions filed by a Zoloft lawyer on behalf of injured plaintiffs involve common questions of fact, and centralization in Pennsylvania “will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.”
They also noted that centralization would eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.
The panel explains that it chose the Eastern District of Pennsylvania because more than half of the related actions are pending there, and because centralization will allow the transferee court to quickly address the many similar pending motions for remand to state court.
Zoloft lawyer: Pfizer failed to warn of risks
A Zoloft lawyer is likely to claim that Pfizer failed to adequately warn about the risks of Zoloft birth defects when the drug is taken by pregnant women, and that the company should be held liable for failing to conduct additional tests to establish safety when taken during pregnancy.