December 1, 2011 – New York Supreme Court denies Defendant Pfizer Inc.’s (“Pfizer”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ action in Mahon v. Pfizer. This lawsuit involves an infant plaintiff suffering from severe birth defects, which Plaintiffs allege result from his mother’s wrongful exposure to a known reproductive toxin during her pregnancy, while working at a Pfizer research and development facility.
NEW YORK, New York, December 1, 2011 – New York Supreme Court denies Defendant Pfizer Inc.’s (“Pfizer”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ action in Mahon v. Pfizer. This lawsuit involves an infant plaintiff suffering from severe birth defects, which Plaintiffs allege result from his mother’s wrongful exposure to a known reproductive toxin during her pregnancy, while working at a Pfizer research and development facility. Prior to her pregnancy, Pfizer recognized the hazards associated with the substance at issue, and drafted a Material Safety Data Sheet warning: “DANGER… Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child.” However, despite that knowledge, Plaintiffs allege that Pfizer failed to implement adequate safety controls in a timely fashion to prevent its employees’ exposures to this hazardous substance.
Plaintiffs, represented by birth defect lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP (“LK”), filed this action in Supreme Court, New York County. Although Pfizer’s corporate headquarters are located in midtown Manhattan, Pfizer sought to dismiss the action under a legal doctrine called forum non conveniens. Essentially, that Motion rested on an argument that litigating in its home state would be unfair and unduly inconvenient to Pfizer.
Pfizer has made similar arguments in the past, frequently meeting with success. However, in this case, Plaintiffs’ birth defect lawyers were able to refute Pfizer’s claim that litigating in New York would be inconvenient. Counsel further established, through depositions and documents obtained from Pfizer, that a “substantial nexus” existed between corporate acts and omissions at Pfizer’s New York headquarters, and the wrongful exposures and ultimate injuries suffered by the Plaintiffs.
The Court agreed with Plaintiffs, and denied Pfizer’s Motion to Dismiss. It further denied the portion of Defendant’s Motion which argued that Plaintiffs had failed to state a claim under ultrahazardous activity and willful and wanton misconduct legal theories. Notably, the latter legal theory entitles Plaintiffs to seek punitive damages against Pfizer. In rejecting Pfizer’s Motion to Dismiss this claim, the Supreme Court expressly noted that Plaintiffs need not demonstrate intentional misconduct in order to establish entitlement to punitive damages. Significantly, the Court also awarded costs to Plaintiffs, based on a finding that Pfizer’s memorandum of law mischaracterized the pertinent legal authorities.
ATTENTION: If you believe that your child’s birth defect was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or hazardous conditions in your workplace, you and your child may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation, please call our experienced birth defect lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-988-8005 or by submitting a confidential email inquiry (see form above).