N.J. couple files Zoloft products liability claim in MDL at U.S. Dist. Court in Phila.

By Jon Campisi | Dec 28, 2012

A couple from North Jersey has filed a products liability claim in the multi-district Zoloft litigation consolidated in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia over allegations that their now-4-year-old son continues to suffer from adverse effects tied to his mother’s ingestion of the anti-depressant drug during pregnancy.

Brian and Jennifer Fox, of Sussex County, N.J., filed suit Dec. 24 against drugmaker Pfizer over allegations that their son, identified only as “L.K.F.,” was born back in August 2008 with Hypospadias and other birth defects as a result of Jennifer Fox ingesting Zoloft while she was pregnant with her child.

Hypospadias is a birth defect in which the opening of the urethra, the tube that drains urine from the bladder in males, is on the underside of the penis as opposed to at the end of the penis.

The lawsuit states that the defendant knew or should have known that taking Zoloft and its generic equivalent during pregnancy posed severe risks to the unborn child such as the aforementioned congenital defect.

“Pfizer knew or should have know that Zoloft crosses the placenta, which could have substantial implications for the developing fetus,” the lawsuit states. “Prior to Ms. Fox becoming pregnant with L.K.F., Pfizer knew or should have known that children whose pregnant mother’s were taking Zoloft were being born with congenital hear[t] defects, and other birth defects, as preclinical studies and subsequent published studies confirming these risks and outcomes.”

The lawsuit, like others that make up the MDL, alleges that the pharmaceutical company took no action to warn physicians or the consuming public or to remedy the risks, and instead concealed all information relating to the dangers of children born to women on Zoloft developing birth defects.

“Pfizer failed to fully, truthfully and accurately disclose Zoloft data to the FDA, and as a result negligently, intentionally and fraudulently misled the medical community, the consuming public, including Plaintiff Brian Fox … and Mrs. Fox, about the high risks to the fetus associated with the use of Zoloft during pregnancy,” the complaint reads.

The suit claims that Jennifer Fox would never have taken Zoloft while she was pregnant if she knew of the dangers associated with the drug.

As a result of the defendant’s alleged negligence, the plaintiffs’ son developed Hypospadias, and has also suffered severe and permanent physical impairments, the suit alleges.

The complaint contains counts of strict products liability, breach of express and implied warranties, negligence, negligence per se, gross negligence, constructive fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, deceptive trade practices, and unjust enrichment.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, litigation costs, pre-and-post-judgment interest, and other court relief.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Idaho attorney Douglas W. Crandall.

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