Lawyers for pharmaceutical giant Wyeth have filed a Notice of Removal with the U.S.
District Court in Philadelphia seeking to transfer a personal injury case initiated by a couple from Illinois from a Pennsylvania state court to the federal venue.
The complaint was first filed Aug. 31 in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court by Adam and Delannie Adamczyk, who claim their minor child has suffered serious injuries after having been born with birth defects allegedly caused by the mother’s ingestion of the anti-depressant drug Effexor during pregnancy.
The plaintiffs’ complaint, which had been filed by Philadelphia attorney Rosemary Pinto and attorneys with Houston-based Blizzard, McCarthy & Nabers, alleges that the young girl was born with life-threatening congenital defects, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome and other related conditions.
The plaintiffs claim the child has had to undergo three open-heart surgeries because of her injuries and she is expected to undergo additional medical procedures, including eventual heart transplantation.
On Sept. 5, attorneys with the Philadelphia law firm of Goodell, Devries, Leech & Dann, and lawyers with New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, filed a removal notice that asserts the federal court in Philadelphia is the proper venue at which the litigation should play out.
The defense attorneys cite as the basis for their transfer request the amount in controversy, which is expected to exceed the jurisdictional limit in a Pennsylvania state court, and the fact that the various parties involved are from different states.
The attorneys say removal at this juncture is proper since Wyeth has not yet been formally served with the complaint, which contains various counts including fraudulent concealment, strict product liability, negligence, negligent design, constructive fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, and fraud, misrepresentation and suppression.
Also on Sept. 5, the same Wyeth attorneys filed another removal notice on behalf of their client in a similar injury case that had been initiated by Tennessee residents Patrick and Sandra Demastus.
Like the first complaint, the Demastus’ lawsuit accuses Wyeth of concealing the risks associated with the use of Effexor by pregnant women.
The Tennessee couple’s complaint was also filed Aug. 31 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
They claim their child was born with certain birth defects, including craniosynostosis, which is when one or more sutures on a baby’s head close earlier than normal, leading a child to have an abnormally shaped head.
In the Demastus case, Wyeth attorneys also argue that the matter belongs in federal court because the amount of damages sought by the plaintiffs exceed the limit allowable in a Pennsylvania court and because there exists a diversity of citizenship between the parties.
In both lawsuits, Wyeth and two company subsidiaries are named as defendants.