Zoloft Class Action Lawsuit-Like Consolidation

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted April 19, 2012


According to an order issued this week by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, all lawsuits over birth defects from Zoloft use during pregnancy will be consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

While the cases will be managed in a manner similar to a Zoloft class action lawsuit during pretrial litigation, each lawsuit brought on behalf of infants born with birth defects or malformations will remain an individual claim, and parents still must contact a lawyer to review the circumstances surrounding their child’s Zoloft case.

The Zoloft MDL process will centralize all federal lawsuits filed against Pfizer in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The cases will be assigned to Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, who is experienced in handling complex pharmaceutical litigation. (Judge Rufe most recently presided over the federal Avandia MDL).

Although many people confuse an MDL with a class action lawsuit for Zoloft, since a large number of similar cases will be coordinated during discovery and pretrial litigation, each case actually remains an individual lawsuit. If a Zoloft settlement agreeement or other resolution for the litigation is not reached within the MDL, every lawsuit may be remanded back to the federal district court where it was originally filed for an individual trial.

There are currently at least 57 Zoloft lawsuits that will be transferred to the MDL, but as additional cases are filed in federal district courts, the number is expected to continue to increase.

As the U.S. JPML stated in their order (PDF) issued on April 17:

These actions share factual questions arising out of allegations that Zoloft causes birth defects in children whose mothers ingest the drug while pregnant. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources ofthe parties, their counsel and the judiciary.


The Zoloft lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent families throughout the United States who are pursuing a claim for children who have experienced severe health problems that may have been caused by the use of Zoloft during pregnancy, such as:

  • Heart Defects
  • Spina Bifida
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN)
  • Lung Defects
  • Abdominal Defects
  • Cranial Defects

Zoloft (sertraline) is a second generation antidepressant that is made by Pfizer, which is part of a class of medications known as SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). It is one of the most widely used medications in the United States, but Pfizer failed to warn women or the medical community about the risk of birth defects from using Zoloft during pregnancy.

To review a potential case for your child or a family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation with our law firm.

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