The New York Times
The Washington Post
USA Today
San Jose Mercury News
CBS This Morning

Trial Begins for First Zoloft Birth Defect Lawsuit

Gavel Stethoscope and PillsThe first of many federal lawsuits concerning birth defects allegedly caused by the drug Zoloft is set to get underway this week. Introduced to the market in 1991, Zoloft became one of the most widely prescribed antidepressants in the country, until a recent study was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study revealed that, when taken early in pregnancy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft, make it two to three times more likely that a baby will be born with certain birth defects. Since this information was made public, thousands of mothers who took the drug while pregnant have filed product liability claims against Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft. The plaintiffs claim that Pfizer failed to warn about the risk of taking the drug while pregnant.

Birth Defects

SSRIs like Zoloft were approved to treat depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. While the drug proved effective as a treatment for these medical issues, studies have since revealed that infants born to women who took the drug during pregnancy had a much higher chance of having heart, skull, and brain defects. Some of the most common birth defects linked to the drug include:

  • Skull malformation;
  • Septal heart defects;
  • Spina bifida;
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension;
  • Abdominal wall defects; and
  • Infant death.

Aside from these devastating physical birth defects, researchers have also discovered a link between the use of SSRIs during pregnancy and long-term neurological effects on fetuses. One study, published last year revealed that taking SSRIs during pregnancy increased the risk of infants developing autism by up to 200 percent.


Drug manufacturers have a duty to warn doctors and patients about the foreseeable risks and side effects of using their products. This includes listing all side effects on labels and in advertisements that target patients. A failure to warn is a breach of a drug manufacturer’s duty of care to consumers, which means the company can be held liable for injuries sustained due to the use of its products.


For claims based on birth defects, parents may be able to obtain compensation from drug manufacturers for medical costs, such as the surgeries, therapy, and medication necessary to maintain a child’s health.

Serious birth defects will require hours spent in hospitals, which may make it difficult for a parent to work full-time. In such cases, parents may be able to recover lost wages for the income they would have been making had their child not required additional medical care. Finally, judges may also award punitive damages in cases where drug manufacturers showed a blatant disregard for the safety and health of patients.

If your child has suffered a birth defect because of a drug manufacturer’s failure to warn of side effects and risks, an experienced attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Please call the passionate San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. to schedule an initial consultation.

Client Reviews
I absolutely cannot speak highly enough of CMA Law, particularly of Mr. McMahon, with whom I have had the most experience. My entire family and I trusted CMA with our case following a significant and life-altering vehicle accident, and to say they delivered is putting it lightly. They were reachable & personable at every stage of this arduous, complex, and scary process, made things easier at every stage, inspired us with confidence, and delivered results. If you're looking for a law firm to place the trust of you in your family in, look absolutely no further than CMA - this is your firm. Declan O.
I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
Best Law Firms
American Board of Trial Advocates
2010 Street Fighter of The Year Award Finalists
Irish Legal 100
The Best Lawyers in America
Santa Clara County Bar
Super Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers
California Lawyer
Top One
Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association
Public Justice Trial Lawyer of The Year