Jon Campisi Oct. 31, 2012, 8:50am

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer Inc. is facing yet another products liability claim

alleging that a newborn child was born with birth defects because his mother took the anti-depressant Zoloft during pregnancy.

North Carolina resident Ashley Melton Tippett filed suit Oct. 26 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of her minor child, identified only as “R.T.,” who was allegedly born with bilateral clubbed feet, an injury that the plaintiff contends was caused by her ingestion of Zoloft while she was carrying the child.

The child has since had to undergo extensive corrective medical treatment to address his birth defect, the suit states.

The civil action was filed in the multi-district Zoloft litigation being overseen by U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.

The lawsuit alleges that Tippett continued to take Zoloft during pregnancy because neither she nor her physicians knew that the drug, which is used to control depression in adults, caused birth defects in babies.

“To this day, Pfizer has not warned women of child-bearing age, women trying to conceive, pregnant women, or healthcare providers that such women should not take Zoloft,” the lawsuit states. “Pfizer still targets such women in marketing Zoloft.”

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs’ child, who was born in 2010, has endured “substantial” medical care, procedures and treatment, and that the child continues to suffer physically and emotionally from his birth defects.

“Ashley Melton Tippett has incurred substantial medical bills and continues to suffer mentally, emotionally and financially as a result of her son’s birth defect and treatment,” the suit states.

The basic claim in the Zoloft MDL is that Pfizer knew about the adverse side effects of the drug, but concealed this information from pregnant women and their doctors.

“To date, Pfizer has failed adequately to warn or inform consumers or prescribing physicians about the known risks of birth defects from use of Zoloft by pregnant women,” the complaint states. “Pfizer has fraudulently concealed these risks and made misrepresentations to the damage and detriment of Plaintiffs.”

The suit contains counts of negligence, gross negligence, products liability, breach of warranties, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

The plaintiffs seek judgment for past and future medical and incidental expenses, past and future earnings losses, punitive and exemplary damages, pre-and-post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and court costs.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Atlanta, GA attorneys N. Kirkland Pope and Michael L. McGlamry of the firm Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood P.C.

A jury trial is being demanded.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-06111-CMR. 

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