Monday, October 15, 2007
A jury in Reno today lashed Wyeth with a $99 million punitive damages verdict in a three-plaintiff Prempro lawsuit in Nevada state court. The massive award was predictable given how events unfolded in the case last week. On Wednesday, the jury rendered a compensatory damages verdict totaling $134.5 million. When Judge Robert Perry learned that the jury was confused about compensatory and punitive damages, he ordered the jury to reconsider the amounts, and the jury came back with a total compensation verdict of $35 million. Today, the jury returned to consider punitive damages, and unsurprisingly hit Wyeth with essentially the same amount it had intended as punishment last week. An AP story on the Houston Chronicle website -- Punitive Damages Awarded in Wyeth Case -- reports on today's punitive damages verdict:
Jurors awarded $99 million in punitive damages Monday to three Nevada women who claimed hormone replacement drugs distributed by pharmaceutical giant Wyeth caused their breast cancer. A Wyeth attorney said the award would be appealed. ...
After lawyers for both sides gave closing arguments again on Monday, the judge instructed the five-man, two-women jury to move to the punitive stage of the trial to consider whether the company's actions were so "reprehensible" that additional damages were warranted to punish it and discourage such behavior in the future. ...
The jurors returned at 1 p.m. Monday, two hours after they began deliberations following an impassioned plea by one of the plaintiffs' lawyers to return a large enough judgment to "get the attention and hold responsible" a company with a net worth of $14.6 billion.