Pennsylvania Record

Monday, September 16, 2019

Zoloft mass tort claim from Ohio transferred to multi-district litigation docket in Phila. federal court

By Jon Campisi | Sep 24, 2012

A Zoloft products liability claim that was recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the

Northern District of Ohio has been transferred to the federal court in Philadelphia, which is overseeing Zoloft mass tort cases as part of ongoing multi-district litigation.

The clerk of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation transferred the case to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Sept. 20, the court docket shows.

The case was initiated by Westlake, OH residents Jim and Karen Doyle against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Like other cases in the docket, the Doyle’s complaint alleges that the defendants failed to inform the plaintiffs and other pregnant women that their unborn children would be at risk of health problems should the anti-depressant drug Zoloft be taken during pregnancy.

In their claim, the Doyle’s state that their minor son, J.D., was born in the summer of 1997 with heart defects that required surgery.

More than eight months after his birth, J.D. had to undergo a cardiopulmonary bypass and a bidirectional Glenn shunting to repair the malformed heart.

“While the surgery saved J.D.’s life, his heart defect requires ongoing care including future surgeries and significant limitations in his life,” the lawsuit states.

In 2001, when the child was 4 years old, doctors determined that he needed to undergo a second cardiopulmonary bypass and Fontan procedure to further correct his heart defect, the suit states.

“His health monitoring continues and will for his entire life,” the complaint states. “Further, his doctors have restricted his ability to play sports and participate in other normal adolescent activities.”

In 2009, J.D., then 12, was required to undergo a third surgery to implant a dual chamber permanent pacemaker.

The lawsuit claims that to this day, Pfizer has not informed women of childbearing age or pregnant women that they should not take the anti-depressant Zoloft.

The pharmaceutical company continues to misrepresent the safety and efficacy of the drug, the suit alleges, especially to this segment of the population.

“Pfizer still targets these women as their primary market,” the suit states of pregnant women.

According to the Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation’s transfer order, the panel transferred nine civil actions to the federal court in Philadelphia in mid-April of this year, and it appears as though this action seems similar in nature because it involves common questions of fact and law.

The Zoloft Products Liability Litigation is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The Doyle’s lawsuit was filed by Vandalia, OH attorney Richard W. Schulte of the firm Behnke, Martin & Schulte.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-05371-CMR.

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