Illinois couple file products liability claim in Zoloft MDL in Phila.

By Jon Campisi | Dec 11, 2012

Two more out-of-state plaintiffs have filed an individual suit in the Zoloft Products

Liability Litigation playing out at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.

Jonathan E. Lewis and his wife, Michelle A. Lewis, filed their complaint Dec. 7 on behalf of the estate of their deceased son, Jack Alexander Lewis.

The lawsuit was filed in the Zoloft multi-district litigation that has been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The plaintiffs, who reside in Cook County, Illinois, are being represented by Florida attorney Kimberly R. Lambert, of the firm Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor.

The defendants named in the civil action are Pfizer Inc., Pfizer International LLC and Greenstone LLC. The latter is a Pfizer wholly owned subsidiary.

The lawsuit states that Jack Lewis died on Sept. 12, 2010, as a result of birth defects he sustained allegedly due to his mother’s ingestion of the anti-depressant drug Zoloft during pregnancy.

The boy had just turned eight months old at the time of his death.

Jack Lewis had been born with severe birth defects, including Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Syndactyly, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs accuse Pfizer and Greenstone, which manufacture Zoloft and its generic form respectively, of failing to divulge the risks associated with the drug’s use during pregnancy.

The defendants knew or should have known that taking Zoloft and/or Sertraline, the generic form of the medication, during pregnancy posed risks to the developing fetus because the drug crosses the placenta, the suit says.

The complaint accuses the drug companies of failing to adequately warn or remedy the risks, instead concealing, suppressing and failing to disclose the dangers to consumers and prescribing physicians.

“Defendants provided misleading information to the FDA and medical community, including Michelle Lewis’s physicians, about the true birth defect risks associated with exposure to Zoloft and/or Sertraline, by representing to physicians that Zoloft and/or Sertraline was safe for use by women of childbearing years and their unborn child,” the lawsuit states.

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

The suit also contains a loss of consortium count on the part of Michelle Lewis’s husband, and it contains state law claims of wrongful death and survival action.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, including damages for loss of earnings, mental and emotional distress, and medical expenses.

The couple also demands litigation costs, attorney’s fees, pre-and-post-judgment interest and other court relief.

The multi-district Zoloft litigation is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-06871-MAM.

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