pregnant womanProduct liability and personal injury experts Berkowitz and Hanna LLC are following the nearly 100 cases in the Effexor MDL (multidistrict litigation). Recently Judge Cynthia Rule of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania directed that only 14 bellwethercases will undergo discovery, and ultimately 12 of the 14 will go to the first round of trials. The reasoning behind the bellwether lawsuits is to streamline cases with similar claims and identical parties, in an effort to reduce duplicate discovery and arrive at consistent rulings. The bellwether rulings can serve as an indicator for the balance of the 85+ (and counting) Effexor cases.

To sum up the Effexor complaints, the collective plaintiffs allege that taking the antidepressant Effexor during the first trimester of pregnancy caused their children to suffer birth defects, including but not limited to heart problems.  Additionally, they charge the manufacturer, Pfizer, with failing to conduct proper research into possible side effects of using antidepressants during pregnancy, as well as failing to inform both consumers and physicians of the birth defect risks.

The firm is aware that Judge Rule is also overseeing the Zoloft birth defect lawsuits. It will be interesting to see how the first round of rulings in the Effexor MDL pan out.

Note: We did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Photo by Mahalle Stackpole via Flickr.com