July 7, 2015 — GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has asked a panel of federal judges to centralize twelve lawsuits involving the anti-nausea drug Zofran into one federal court in Pennsylvania.
In a motion(PDF) filed July 6 with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), GSK argued that there are compelling reasons to centralize the litigation under one judge in one court.
It is common for the JPML to establish a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) when it expects a large number of lawsuits to be filed with similar issues.
If the motion is granted, individual lawsuits filed at the federal level would be transferred into the MDL. Each case would remain independent and could have its own outcome.
Currently, lawsuits are pending in Arkansas, Ohio, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Texas, Montana, California, and Minnesota. All of the lawsuits accuse GSK of promoting Zofran for pregnant women with morning sickness without testing it for safety or warning about the potential risk of birth defects.
According to GSK:
“Consolidating these matters will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote just and efficient resolution of the litigation by, inter alia, eliminating duplicative discovery and motion practice, preventing inconsistent pretrial rulings, deterring improper forum and judge shopping, conserving judicial resources, and reducing litigation costs and effort for the parties.”
GSK has requested the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in the same state where the company is headquartered. They also requested the Judge Cynthia M. Rufe should be appointed to oversee the litigation because she already has experience overseeing other MDLs involving drugs that caused birth defects, such as Zoloft.