An Illinois federal jury has found GlaxoSmithKline liable for the death of Stewart Dolin, a lawyer with Reed Smith LLP. The pharmaceutical giant was ordered to pay $3 million to the lawyer’s widow. The jury reached the conclusion that a generic version of GSK’s Paxil caused Dolin to take his own life. The jury agreed with Wendy Dolin that her husband had committed suicide in 2010 under the influence of generic paroxetine, an antidepressant sold as brand-named Paxil. The jury awarded Wendy Dolin $3 million, $2 million for the wrongful death of Stewart Dolin and $1 million for the pain he suffered in the days leading up to his death because of a dangerous side effect that his wife said caused him to take his own life.
The verdict was said to be a vindication of Dolin’s belief, expressed in her 2012 lawsuit, that her husband would still be alive if it weren’t for the paroxetine prescription he began taking days before he took his life by jumping in front of an L train in downtown Chicago. Mrs. Dolin said her husband was restless and agitated in the days leading up to his suicide, symptoms of a listed Paxil side effect known as akathisia. The side effect of the drug sometimes causes people to act out violently and impulsively.
The lawsuit claimed that GSK knew about the increased risk of suicide for adults taking paroxetine, particularly in the early days of treatment. Dolin said that the company had hidden data proving the link from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for decades. Mylan NV was the manufacturer of the generic, but was dismissed from the case in 2014 after U.S. District Judge James Zagel ruled that GSK, as the maker of the brand-name drug Paxil, was responsible for ensuring the label was accurate.
Wendy Dolin is represented by R. Brent Wisner, Michael L. Baum, Bijan Esfandiari and Frances M. Phares of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman PC and David Rapoport and Matthew Sims of Rapoport Law Offices PC. The case is Dolin v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. et al. (case number 1:12-cv-06403) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
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