Jon Campisi Feb. 20, 2013, 9:27am

A Maryland couple who claims their daughter died soon after birth as a result of injuries

the infant sustained due to the mother ingesting the anti-depressant drug Zoloft during pregnancy has filed a wrongful death complaint against the makers of the medication.

Sherese Little and Marshall Christian allege in their civil action that their daughter, identified in the litigation only as “M.C.,” died on March 15, 2010, a mere three days after she was born in Washington, D.C.

The lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 19 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, states that “M.C.” was born with numerous birth defects, including premature intrauterine ductal closure and right ventricular dysfunction, patent foramen ovale, right ventricular hypertrophy with tricuspid regurgitation, and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.

The plaintiffs fault Pfizer Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Greenstone LLC, for the newborn’s congenital birth defects and ultimate death, claiming in their lawsuit that the two defendants failed to test Zoloft’s effects on pregnant women or their unborn children.

“In its promotional activities, Pfizer did not discourage the use of Zoloft/Sertraline in pregnant women,” the lawsuit reads. “In fact, through a variety of methods, Pfizer actually encouraged doctors to prescribe Zoloft/Sertraline to women of child bearing age, women who were trying to conceive and even to pregnant women. Pfizer also directly marketed Zoloft/Sertraline to these women.”

The litigation claims that to this day, Pfizer has failed to inform women of childbearing age and pregnant women that they should not take Zoloft and/or Sertraline because of the potential for dangers with the unborn fetus.

The complaint says that immediately after birth, “M.C.” was transferred to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for urgent care related to her injuries.

The newborn remained at the center for the following three days where her injuries were complicated by severe hypoxia and excessive bradycardia, the lawsuit states, at which time the family opted to remove the infant from life support and allowed her to pass away.

“Plaintiffs have suffered physically and emotionally from the birth defects and ultimate death of M.C. as caused by Sherese Little’s ingestion of Sertraline,” the suit states.

The couple is being represented by attorneys Bryan F. Aylstock and R. Jason Richards of the Pensacola, FL firm Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence per se, and wrongful death.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as interest, litigation costs, attorneys’ fees and other court relief.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-00880-CMR. 

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