International pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has now been named as Defendant in over 60 Zofran birth defect lawsuits. As is common in mass tort litigation, the company has filed a motion to consolidate these, and future, claims in a single venue before one federal judge.
Filing its motion on July 6, 2015 before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, GlaxoSmithKline argued that the twelve initial cases share “numerous complex and common questions of fact.” Consolidation is common in litigations where a large volume of lawsuits are expected to be filed and all claims share a similar set of allegations against a single defendant.
GlaxoSmithKline has requested that all Zofran birth defect lawsuits filed in federal court be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennyslvania. A company based in Britain, GlaxoSmithKline maintains a substantial portion of its US operations from a headquarters in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.
Defendant has also requested that claims be transferred to either one of two federal court judges. Judge Cynthia Rufe currently manages two MDLs involving allegations that a pharmaceutical drug causes birth defects. GlaxoSmithKline has named Judge Paul Diamond as an alternative option. Judge Diamond presided over a thalidomide birth defect MDL between 2011 and 2013.
To read GlaxoSmithKline’s motion, click the button below:
What Would Consolidation Mean For Zofran Birth Defect Lawsuits?
If GlaxoSmithKline’s motion is granted, all Zofran birth defect lawsuits filed in federal court will be transferred to a single court, under the management of one judge, for the administration of discovery, procedure and pretrial motions. For the purpose of procedural matters, a Plaintiff’s steering committee will be determined to represent the interests of all Plaintiffs. The filing of forthcoming complaints will also be standardized, with a short form complaint and uniform filing documents being created.
Consolidation presents benefits for Defendants and Plaintiffs, as well as the court system itself. Since the litigation would be streamlined, common issues can be ruled on at a single occasion rather than separately for each claim. In most cases, this “streamlining” leads to quicker resolutions and, in turn, faster disposition for individual lawsuits.
Following GlaxoSmithKline’s request, current Plaintiffs have the option of filing a response and may challenge Defendant’s proposed venue or judge choices.
If you have filed a Zofran birth defect lawsuit and have further questions on how GlaxoSmithKline’s request to consolidate could affect your case, contact the attorneys at Monheit Law to discuss your situation further.