Wednesday, October 4, 2006
In the first state court Prempro trial, the jury today returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the first phase of the trial. The Pennsylvania state court jury found that Wyeth's hormone replacement therapy was a cause of the plaintiff's breast cancer, and determined that the amount of compensatory damages would be $1 million for Jennie Nelson and $500,000 for her husband.
It's a "reverse bifurcation" phased trial. In the first phase, the jury determined causation and compensatory damages. In the second phase, the jury will determine liability, and depending on the outcome, punitive damages. In other words, the jury has not yet determined whether Wyeth is liable; there has been no determination of negligent failure to warn. Thus, although the determination of causation is a setback for Wyeth, the significance of this verdict depends mightily on what happens in the second phase.
The verdict did not come easy. Last week, the jurors informed the judge that they were deadlocked, but the judge ordered them to continue deliberating. Yesterday, the foreperson told the judge that they were close to a verdict, but today a juror was removed and replaced with an alternate. The verdict was announced shortly thereafter.
Last month, a jury found in favor of Wyeth in the first federal court Prempro trial.