In the midst of preparing for the upcoming Zoloft bellwether trial slated to begin in March, Judge Cynthia Rufe ruled that the Plaintiff Steering Committee (PSC) causation expert, Dr. Nicholas Jewell, could not testify that Zoloft can cause birth defects. Citing methodological problems, Judge Rufe found Dr. Jewell’s testimony to be unreliable and inadmissible. Previously, Judge Rufe excluded the original causation expert, Dr. Anick Berard, ruling that Dr. Berard’s opinions were also methodologically flawed, unreliable, and inadmissible.
Immediately following the Court’s ruling, Pfizer filed a motion with the Court asking that summary judgment be entered in Pfizer’s favor. A “summary judgment” dismissal without trial is appropriate when a party is entitled to a judgment in its favor as a matter of law. Pfizer contends that without Dr. Jewell’s expert testimony, Plaintiffs cannot offer sufficient evidence to establish an essential element of their case – that Zoloft causes congenital heart defects – and Plaintiffs’ claims fail as a matter of law.
While the future of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) is uncertain, Zoloft birth defect litigation is progressing in state courts across the country. We continue to investigate Zoloft and other SSRI birth defect cases. If you need information on this litigation, contact Roger Smith, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, for additional information at 800-898-2034 or by email at Roger.Smith@beasleyallen.com.
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