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Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
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Zofran Birth Defect Lawsuit Update: GSK Files To Consolidate Litigation In Philadelphia


On July 6, 2015, GlaxoSmithKline filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) requesting the court to consolidate all Zofran birth defect lawsuits before one single judge so that motions and pretrial discovery can be made more efficient for disposition of the cases. The motion requests that the venue for consolidation be in Pennsylvania, which is where GlaxoSmithKline’s  United States headquarters sits, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

12 Zofran Birth Defect Lawsuits Filed

To date there have been approximately twelve Zofran lawsuits filed. All complaints contain similar allegations. Namely, Zofran (Ondansetron) was prescribed as a drug to treat the birth mother for morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy, and they all gave birth to children with various birth defects. These defects include:

  • Cleft Lip
  • Cleft Palate
  • Atrial Septal Defect (hole in the heart)
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (hole in the heart)

To date the lawsuits have been filed in the following venues:

  • Arkansas
  • Ohio
  • Louisiana
  • Massachussetts
  • Texas
  • Montana
  • California
  • Minnesota

One of the filed lawsuits to date has involved in utero exposure to Zofran and the plaintiff alleged that lead to a miscarriage. The vast majority of cases filed as of July 7, 2015 involve some form of congenital heart defect that required at least one surgery to repair.

All filed lawsuits contain allegations that GSK failed to warn women of the risks and dangers that Zofran posed to unborn children, and allege that GSK improperly marketed the drug “off-label” to treat morning sickness in pregnancy.

For a summary of all filed lawsuits to date, visit ZofranLegal.com.

What Does This Mean For The Zofran Litigation?

The application to the JPML is common in such mass torts where there is an expected large volume of cases filed or yet to be filed which all deal with the same defendant and similar issues. If this motion is granted, all Zofran lawsuits filed in federal court will be transferred to the chosen venue under one judge where the administration of the cases will be streamlined. This benefits all parties to the litigation and the court system, as to litigate each Zofran lawsuit individually would not be practical.

If your lawsuit was filed in state court, there may be removal motions filed to remove your case to federal court, which will then ultimately transfer the case to the Zofran Products Liability Litigation MDL.

Where Will Be The Venue For The Zofran MDL?

In the motion filed by GSK’s attorneys, they argue that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is located in Philadelphia, is the most convenient venue for the MDL. They also argue that Judge Cynthia M. Rufe be the appointed judge to administer the MDL, given her experience in managing two other MDLs which involve prescription drugs that allegedly caused child birth defects. The motion filed by GSK continues to request in the alternative that the transferee judge be Judge Paul S. Diamond because of his experience in handling complex pharmaceutical product litigation.

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