Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

HomePennsylvaniaMontgomery County

Email Michael Monheit Michael Monheit on LinkedIn Michael Monheit on Twitter Michael Monheit on Facebook Michael Monheit on Avvo
Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
Attorney • (215) 840-6573

Every Zofran Lawsuit Is Being Transferred To Massachusetts


“MDL No. 2657.” To some parents, that phrase might not mean anything. But for at least 60 families across the country, MDL No. 2657 may very well be their first step on the road to a hopeful future.

Parents have been filing Zofran lawsuits for almost a year, but until now they were disparate claims filed individually. While these families may not have had any contact with one another, their allegations were extraordinarily similar. So similar that the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation has finally rendered its decision: Zofran lawsuits are being centralized.

Every claim filed in a Federal Court will be sent to the District Court of Massachusetts in Boston under the guidance of Judge F. Dennis Saylor. There, the complex steps necessary before a lawsuit goes to trial will be conducted in common.

How A Zofran MDL Will Work

The decision to consolidate was announced in a Transfer Order released on October 13, 2015. A copy of the Order, which explains why the Panel decided to send Zofran lawsuits to Massachusetts, has been made public on ZofranLegal.com.

But this form of consolidation, Multi-District Litigation or MDL, doesn’t mean that the plaintiffs are now members of a class action. Far from it.

Each lawsuit will remain individual, and every family will retain complete control over the course of their claim. MDL simply recognizes that the lawsuits all share a common set of questions:

  • Does Zofran cause birth defects?
  • If so, which kinds?
  • Did GlaxoSmithKline unlawfully promote Zofran as a morning sickness treatment?
  • Should the company have warned the public of Zofran’s potential link to birth defects?

Regardless of any one family’s unique situation, the information necessary to answer these pressing questions will be the same. So MDL allows everyone to gather and analyze that information together. Expert witnesses will provide their sworn testimony once. Judge Saylor will hand down pretrial rulings that apply to each claim equally.

Why Are Zofran Lawsuits Being Consolidated?

The panel’s Order also explained why consolidation was a good idea. Centralizing the lawsuits will:

  • “eliminate duplicative discovery” – numerous attorneys from more than 20 states all requesting the same documents and evidence from GlaxoSmithKline would be inefficient. Instead, the lawyers will conduct this process of “discovery” together.
  • “prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings” – without consolidation, a host of different judges would also be involved. Placing the claims under Judge Saylor alone eliminates the possibility of two judges making different decisions on the same question.
  • “conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary” – consolidation will save everyone money and time; plaintiffs can share the burden of various court costs, which will be lower anyway.

It’s likely that these pretrial efforts will be led by a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, a group of lawyers representing parents and their children who will guide the litigation’s progress.

Who Wanted Massachusetts?

The Panel’s choice is a victory for the families who have sued GlaxoSmithKline. Glaxo initially proposed the idea of consolidation, suggesting a Federal Court in Pennsylvania close to the company’s Philadelphia headquarters.

Plaintiffs quickly shot back, noting that few if any Zofran lawsuits had been filed in Pennsylvania. As an alternative, they recommended several locations, including Massachusetts.

Boston probably looked like a good fit from the start.

  1. The Justice Department investigation that ultimately charged GlaxoSmithKline for illegally promoting Zofran was begun in Boston, and the eventual lawsuit was prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
  2. Researchers at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center gathered the first scientific evidence that linked Zofran to a birth defect: cleft palate.
  3. Five Zofran lawsuits are filed in Massachusetts, and four of them were already assigned to Judge Saylor.

Will The Rights Of Other Families Be Affected?

No. Other families are still able to file Zofran birth defect lawsuits of their own. No one can restrict a parent’s right to seek justice for their child.

If you or a loved one were prescribed Zofran during pregnancy and are now raising a child with congenital defects, contact the experienced attorneys at Monheit Law today. In a free consultation, you can learn more about your legal options. Just call 1-877-620-8411.


Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. Derick Renick says:
    up arrow

    We are from MO and my wife used this medicine with my son during 363rd pregnancy and we believe it is the causes of his mouth deformity. He is almost 2 years old and cannot talk.

Leave a Comment

Have an opinion? Please leave a comment using the box below.

For information on acceptable commenting practices, please visit Lifehacker's guide to weblog comments. Comments containing spam or profanity will be filtered or deleted.