Judges Gavel

A judge in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas has dismissed the first of nine cases involving the antidepressant drug Paxil. This specific mass tort case alleges that Paxil caused the rare heart defect suffered by a now-12-year-old boy.

According to an expert witness, the 12-year-old boy will likely need more open-heart surgeries to correct his heart defect, tetralogy of fallot, in addition to the surgeries he underwent as an infant and last year.

Defendant’s Mid-Trial Motion for Non-Suit Granted

The attorneys for GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, filed the motion after the plaintiffs’ attorneys rested their case. The motion asked for the judge to dismiss the case because the plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence to support their lawsuit. During oral arguments on the defendant’s motion, GSK’s attorneys said that since testimony from the doctor who prescribed Paxil did not include anything about acting differently if he had more information about the drug and possible birth defects, the jury couldn’t hear about GSK’s alleged failure to warn.

The judge’s ruling stated, “It is not reasonable to infer based on the testimony that was presented that [the doctor] would not have prescribed Paxil had he known the additional risk. Based on the testimony presented by the plaintiff, all the jury could do is guess. I cannot permit the jury to speculate as to causation.”

Plaintiffs’ Attorney Said Parts of Doctor’s Deposition Were Improperly Excluded

The plaintiffs’ attorney did not agree with the judge’s ruling. He said that there were parts of the doctor’s deposition that were not allowed to be presented at trial. He felt that information should have been allowed, but the judge barred the plaintiff from mentioning what GSK could have done to prevent the alleged problems with Paxil.

The plaintiffs’ attorney said that the doctor was asked several times what his actions would have been if there had been a different warning for Paxil or if he had been warned about possible birth defects from its use in pregnant women.

Drug Manufacturers Can Be Held Liable for Harm Caused by Dangerous Drugs

The manufacturers of drugs that cause illness, injury or death to those who use the drugs as intended can be held responsible for damages. If you feel you have suffered because of Paxil or another dangerous drug, an attorney can help determine if you have a case to seek compensation.