We have written before about Donna Scroggin’s hormone replacement product liability suit against Wyeth and Upjohn. During the spring 2008 trial, a jury in federal court in Arkansas found that Wyeth & Upjohn failed to warn Ms. Scroggins or her doctor of the increased risk of breast cancer resulting from the use of estrogen and progestin products. The jury awarded Ms. Scroggins $2.75 million in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages against Upjohn. The punitive award against Wyeth was for $19 million.
Wyeth and Upjohn asked Judge William Wilson Jr. to vacate the jury’s verdict. Judge Wilson upheld the jury’s liability finding and the compensatory damage verdict of $2.75 million, but vacated the punitive damages awards. On November 2nd, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the $2.75 million judgment against Wyeth and Upjohn.
The Eighth Circuit’s decision is very good for victims of hormone replacement therapy, particularly as to the important issue of causation. The Circuit Court also upheld Judge Wilson’s judgment as a matter of law with regard to punitive damages against Upjohn, but ordered a new trial for punitive damages against Wyeth. The Court held that:
The evidence presented could allow a jury to find or infer that Wyeth was guilty of malicious conduct within the meaning of Arkansas law.
James Morris Jr. of the Morris Law Firm in Austin, Texas, represents Ms. Scroggin. Erik Walker of the law firm of Hissey Kientz in Houston, Texas, argued the case on appeal before the Eighth Circuit for Ms. Scroggin.
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