The Zoloft lawsuits involving children who have suffered Zoloft birth defects have been consolidated into MDL, which is established to speed and streamline the litigation process.
Zoloft Bellwether Trials
The selection process for the bellwether trials (a trial that indicates future trends in a specific litigation and reveals any patterns that could exist regarding legal issues) began in January 2013, and will consist of 25 lawsuits (chosen from those lawsuits currently pending), 12 of which are chosen from plaintiff’s attorneys, and the remaining 13 cases will be submitted by Pfizer’s attorneys. 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 outcome of bellwether trials are intended to establish settlements for future claims against Pfizer regarding Zoloft.
On April 1, the Court published two new Pretrial Orders on the Zoloft litigation’s website, one of which amends the previously established Joint Discovery and Scheduling Plan, according to the law firm Bernstein Liebhard LLP. The second Order posted by the Court governs the process for selection of the litigation’s Initial Discovery Group. (In Re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation - MDL 2342).
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 allegedly linked with Zoloft include Zoloft heart birth defects and more:
• Clubbed Foot
• Oral Clefts, Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
• Delayed Development
• Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
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• 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
• Spina Bifida
Zoloft lawsuits further claim that Pfizer knew but did not provide sufficient warnings regarding the link between Zoloft and birth defects. With more public awareness regarding Zoloft and pregnancy lawsuits, attorneys are expecting that more lawsuits will be filed against Pfizer.