Wednesday, February 20, 2008
This morning's Wall Street Journal reports that a district court judge in Nevada reduced a jury award against Wyeth from $134 million to $58 million. The damages included both compensatory and punitive damages based on the theory that the drugs Premarin and Prempro caused plaintiffs' breast cancer. The judge was concerned that the amounts represented "the result of passion and prejudice." Here's an excerpt of the story:
Washoe County District Court Judge Robert Perry granted the drug maker's motion to find the damages excessive. He ordered the award reduced to about $58 million -- $23 million in compensatory and $35 million in punitive damages.
The judgment had been the largest award to date against the Madison, N.J., company, which faces about 5,300 similar lawsuits across the country.
All involve the drugs Premarin, an estrogen replacement, and Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progestin.
Judge Perry said the jury's judgment of $35 million in compensatory and $99 million in punitive suggested the amounts were "the result of passion and prejudice."
"The court believes that this reduction in damages adequately compensates plaintiffs for the serious consequences which the jury found to have been caused by defendant, while also serving to punish defendant and deter others from similar conduct," he wrote.