Attorneys for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals have filed papers with the District Court in
Philadelphia seeking to have a pending phen-fen mass tort case brought by a New Mexico couple moved to the federal venue.
Raymond M. Williams, a lawyer with DLA Piper in Philadelphia, filed the Notice of Removal Aug. 17 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of his clients, which also includes Wyeth-Ayerst International Inc.
The underlying case was brought by Richard and Martha Kathleen Schmidt, who allege they were each diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension as a result of ingesting the anti-obesity drugs Pondimin, also known as fenfluramine, and Redux, also known as dexfenfluramine and/or phentermine.
The drugs are typically referred to as phen-fen in the pharmaceutical mass tort litigation playing out across the country over claims that the diet drugs can cause cardiac problems.
The plaintiffs filed what is known as a writ of summons on Aug. 16 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court.
A writ is filed when a party intends to sue.
According to Wyeth’s removal notice, no defendant in the case has yet been served with an official complaint, which must be done within 30 days of instituting litigation with a writ of summons.
Wyeth’s attorneys wrote in their removal notice that venue is proper in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia because diversity exists between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds the arbitrational limits at a Pennsylvania state court.
Williams, Wyeth’s lawyer, also wrote that removal is proper because no defendant has been served with a short-form complaint as of yet.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated pretrial proceedings for personal injury claims involving diet drugs at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is based in Philadelphia.
The plaintiffs’ writ had been filed by attorneys with the Philadelphia law firm of Kline & Specter.