Litigation of mass torts or product liability claims often have an international component, as one or more of the defendants involved may be outside the US.
For example, the ongoing pharmaceutical products liability litigation involving the prescription medications Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) has an international component: Almost all of the actions that allege injuries resulting from ingestion of either Celexa or Lexapro name as a defendant the Danish company that invented these medications, H. Lundbeck A/S.
In such cases, the Danish defendant must be served with process pursuant to the provisions of the Hague Service Convention for the US court to have jurisdiction over this defendant.
Claims Involved in the Celexa/Lexapro Litigation
Both medications are in the class of drugs known as “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (“SSRIs”), and both were approved by the FDA to treat depression.
As with many other anti-depressant medications, most of the early lawsuits involving Celexa and Lexapro focused on allegations that the medications caused patients to experience serious side effects and sometimes become violent or suicidal.
Indeed, there have been more than 50 wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits filed in US federal courts alone, alleging these types of side effects as a result of using Celexa or Lexapro.
More recently, however, plaintiffs have begun to file a large number of lawsuits in the US alleging that ingestion of Celexa or Lexapro by pregnant women caused a wide variety of birth defects, especially after the twentieth week of pregnancy. The alleged birth defects are quite serious, including heart defects, brain and skull defects, spina bifida, limb defects, cleft lip or cleft palette, infant serotonin syndrome, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and other conditions.
Service of the Danish Defendant Pursuant to the Hague Service Convention
H. Lundbeck A/S (commonly known as “Lundbeck”) is a Danish international pharmaceutical company engaged in the research and development, production, marketing and sale of prescription drugs for the treatment of disorders of the central nervous system.
Lundbeck is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and its products are registered in more than 100 countries worldwide, including the US.
Lundbeck launched Celexa in 1989 and it soon became its major product, accounting for a large percentage of the company’s revenue. Lundbeck later developed Lexapro, which has a very similar chemical structure to Celexa, and currently has a partnership with a US pharmaceutical company, Forest Laboratories, Inc., for the distribution, marketing and sale of Celexa and Lexapro in the US.
To properly obtain jurisdiction over the Danish defendant, US plaintiff’s attorneys must serve Lundbeck pursuant to the Hague Service Convention, which is in force between the US and Denmark. See Volkswagenwerk A.G. v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694 (1988) (making service of process through the Hague Service Convention mandatory in member countries).
To serve a Danish defendant with process under the Hague Service Convention, plaintiff’s counsel must be well versed in the particular rules and peculiarities involved in effecting proper service of process in Denmark.
No matter what your case involves, LLS can assist you with service and can help you understand and meet the requirements for service of process in Denmark. LLS is also skilled with quashing US process upon foreign defendants.
Contact us for more information on this or any other matter involving international service of process.