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Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
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Zofran Lawsuit Update: Boston Court Considers Proposed Short Form Complaint


More than 260 families say GlaxoSmithKline’s anti-nausea drug Zofran can cause birth defects. In lawsuit after lawsuit, parents from across the country claim the pharmaceutical giant failed to warn them of Zofran’s alleged risks, despite the drug’s status as America’s top-selling morning sickness treatment.

Short Form Complaints Approach Finalization For Zofran MDL

Today, these lawsuits are consolidated in the US District Court of Massachusetts, where they will proceed through critical pre-trial phases together, using standardized documents to make the process more efficient. Three weeks ago, the families filed their Master Long Form Complaints, documents that outline their shared allegations in full.

Along with this Master Long Form Complaint, families will also have to submit a Short Form Complaint. In their Short Form Complaints, families will provide the personal details of their case. Together, the Long and Short Form Complaints will become legally-binding once filed.

On June 20, 2016, the federal court in Boston received a proposed Short Form Complaint (PDF) created through negotiations between Plaintiffs and GlaxoSmithKline. Please note that the form to which we have linked, Document 274 in the Zofran litigation, is only a proposed version of the Short Form Complaint. It has yet to be approved for use by individual Plaintiffs. If approved for use, here’s what the Short Form Complaint will cover:

1. Select the appropriate Defendants.

Families will be able to select one or both of the Defendants named in the Master Long Form Complaint, GlaxoSmithKline and Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. While every Plaintiff will choose GlaxoSmithKline, families who allege an injury occurring on or after March 23, 2015 will be able to select Novartis as well. Novartis purchased the right to sell Zofran in American markets in March 2015.

2. Describe yourself.

Families then have a choice of bringing their claims either:

  • individually and on behalf of the minor child, or
  • on behalf of the minor child only

due to injuries caused by prenatal exposure to brand Zofran. Plaintiffs will then specify their relationship to the child, either biological mother, biological father, legal guardian or personal representative of the child’s Estate. After filling in their place of residence, parents will birth date and place of birth for their child.

3. When, how and where did you take Zofran?

After completing basic personal information, Plaintiffs will be able to specify when they took Zofran in relation to their child’s fetal development, either in the:

Next is a product identification section, in which Plaintiffs specify the form of Zofran allegedly taken:

  • oral tablets,
  • orally disintegrating tablet,
  • injectable or I.V. solution,
  • oral solution or
  • other

Plaintiffs will then list the state or states in which they took Zofran. Intended only for families who filed their lawsuits directly in the US District Court of Massachusetts, an additional section asks Plaintiffs to name the federal court in which they would have filed suit, had the Zofran MDL not been established.

4. Describe the alleged injuries.

In the next section, Plaintiffs will have an opportunity to describe the congenital defects and injuries they believe were caused by their child’s prenatal exposure to Zofran. Afterward, parents are able to explain the injuries they themselves have allegedly suffered as a result of their child’s condition.

5. Adopt claims and allegations from the Long Form Complaint.

Following a description of alleged injuries, Plaintiffs will select those allegations (outlined in detail in the Master Long Form Complaint) they would like to adopt for their own cases:

  1. Negligence
  2. Negligent Misrepresentation
  3. Negligent Undertaking
  4. Negligence Per Se
  5. Failure To Warn – Strict Liability
  6. Breach of Express Warranty
  7. Breach of Implied Warranties
  8. Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Concealment
  9. Violations of Consumer Protection Laws
  10. Wrongful Death
  11. Survival Action
  12. Loss of Consortium
  13. Punitive Damages
  14. Other

There is then a fill-in section for additional factual allegations, along as one for allegations made against additional Defendants.

Can Families Still File Lawsuits?


While the Zofran litigation is speeding up, other families may still be eligible to file suit. If you or a loved one were prescribed Zofran as an off-label morning sickness treatment, and gave birth to a child with congenital defects, contact the experienced attorneys at Monheit Law today. Your consultation comes at no charge and no obligation.

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