Wyeth seeks to transfer Fen-Phen mass tort claim to federal court

Jon Campisi May 11, 2012, 9:57am

Attorneys for drug giant Wyeth Pharmaceuticals have filed paperwork at the federal court in Philadelphia seeking to transfer a Fen-Phen mass tort claim filed at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court this week from the state court to U.S. District Court.

Illinois couple Liza Valido-Shade and her husband, Tim Shade, had filed the product liability claim May 8 against Wyeth and various company subsidiaries.

The suit alleges that the female plaintiff was diagnosed in May 2010 with pulmonary arterial hypertension, an injury she blames on her use of the diet drug commonly known as Fen-Phen.

Valido-Shade had been prescribed the drug by a physician with the New Image Doctor’s Weight Loss Clinic in Illinois. She ingested the pharmaceutical for a yearlong period beginning in 1996, the lawsuit states.

In their May 9 Notice of Removal, Wyeth attorneys argue that the matter is best suited to be handled at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania because the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional limit in a Pennsylvania state court.

The defendant’s lawyers also argue the litigation should play out in federal court because diversity exists between the parties; the plaintiffs reside in Illinois while Wyeth is a Delaware corporation.

“Because Plaintiffs and Defendants are citizens of different states, there is complete diversity of citizenship for jurisdiction purposes,” Wyeth attorney Raymond M. Williams, of the Philadelphia law firm DLA Piper, wrote in the removal notice.

The lawsuit was originally filed by attorneys with the Philadelphia firm Kline & Specter as a short-form complaint in the master Fen-Phen litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-20003-HB. 

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