Alabama plaintiff files product liability suit in Phila. court over Zoloft-caused birth defects

By Jon Campisi | May 16, 2012

The mother of a child who was born with birth defects, allegedly as a result of the woman taking the antidepressant drug Zoloft, has filed a product liability complaint against the manufacturers and distributors of the pharmaceutical product.

Alabama resident Deidra Long is suing Pfizer Inc., Wolters Kluwer Health Inc., Wolters Kluwer United States and Greenstone LLC on behalf of her minor son, Hudson Long.

The lawsuit, which was filed May 10 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court by Philadelphia attorney Gregory S. Spizer, claims that Hudson Long was born in January 2008 with congenital birth defects as a result of his exposure to Zoloft while in the womb.

Since his birth, the complaint alleges, the younger Hudson has suffered from serious birth defects including, but not limited to, complex congenital heart disease, pulmonary stenosis, ventricular septal defect, L-transposition dextrocardia and right ventricular hypoplasia.

The various injuries have caused the young child to undergo multiple corrective surgeries and “significant, ongoing medical treatment and care,” the lawsuit states.

In her lawsuit, Deidra Long blames the defendants for not adequately warning her that Zoloft, if taken during pregnancy, could cause birth defects in a child.

“Had the Zoloft product information warned of the significant risks of birth defects in a developing fetus if used while pregnant, Deidra Long would not have ingested Zoloft during her pregnancy and her prescribing physicians would not have prescribed Zoloft for her to use during pregnancy,” the lawsuit states.

Zoloft, which was first approved for use by the federal Food and Drug Administration in 1991, is designed to treat depression in adults.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of failing to “truthfully and accurately disclose Zoloft data to the FDA, the public … and the medical community,” and as a result, misleading all three as to the risks to a fetus caused by Zoloft exposure in utero.

“The Manufacturing Defendants knew or should have known that the warnings, including, but not limited to, the label and package insert for Zoloft, did not disclose the true risks of birth defects from Zoloft exposure during pregnancy,” the lawsuit states.

As a result of the defendants’ combined negligence, Deidra Long and her physicians were unaware that Zoloft exposed Hudson Long to the risks and injuries outlined in the litigation, and that those risks were the “direct and proximate result of Defendants’ acts and omissions,” the lawsuit states.

Hudson Long has suffered mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, psychological injuries, disabilities and disfigurement as a result of having to undergo numerous surgeries and procedures relating to his birth defects, the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict product liability for failure to warn and design defect, negligence, negligent design, fraud, misrepresentation and suppression, constructive fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, and gross negligence/malice.

Long seeks $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, pre-and-post-judgment interest, litigation expenses and other costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The case ID number is 120500629. 

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