Product liability is an ever-increasing issue. With big corporations under continued pressure to innovate, reach new and expanding markets and deliver earnings, product safety becomes second fiddle to profits. Such a case can be demonstrated by a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical manufacturer and the widow of a man who committed suicide while taking one of their medicines, Paxil.
According to an article in the ABA Journal, in 2007, a Chicago based law firm, Sachnoff & Weaver was acquired by another firm, Reed Smith. One of the senior partners of Sachnoff & Weaver was Stewart Dolin. Following the acquisition in 2007, Mr. Dolin was named the chair of Reed Smith’s corporate and securities group. In 2009 he took a ten percent pay cut which was reported to be a partner-level pay cut to address general market conditions due to the recession at that time. Mr. Dolin became co-chair of the group, with another lawyer later in 2010 before committing suicide.
Wendy Dolin, the widow of Steward, was awarded $3 million in a lawsuit against GSK contending that the antidepressant Paxil maker covered up the drug’s link to an increased risk of suicide. Initially, Mrs. Dolin sought a much higher reward of $39 million but contents for her it is not about the money. Following the verdict, Mrs. Dolin said, “This has always been about awareness of a health issue, and the public has to be aware of this.”
One of the central arguments by the lawyers Mrs. Dolin was based on testimony that the defendant, GSK, manipulated the findings of tests performed and therefore GSK was able to avoid including a suicide warning on drug labels. The test results included inflated suicides in a placebo group compared to Paxil during clinical trials.
The counter-argument from GSK’s lawyers was to go at Mr. Dolin saying he committed suicide because of job concerns and he wasn’t able to adjust to his new work life in Reed Smith. This argument by GSK was fueled by testimony from Dolin’s therapist in a video deposition shown to the jury. The therapist said that Mr. Dolin, “didn’t feel qualified to do some of the work” after the acquisition because he had no experience with giant corporations and international law. GSK also made an argument that Mr. Dolin was taking a generic version of the medication, not manufactured by GSK; therefore, they couldn’t possibly be responsible.
To fend off the personal attack on Dolin’s work stress leading to his suicide, he lawyers used testimony by Reed Smith’s managing partner Michael LoVallo, who said: “I don’t think there was anything work-related that could have caused this.” Mr. LoVallo also confirmed all partners taking pay cuts during the 2009 recession.
GlaxoSmithKline plans to appeal.
If you or a loved one is suffering due to injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, get the right legal representation on your side. The attorneys and staff at the McGuire Law Firm have the experience and knowledge of personal injury law that you need when pursuing compensation for your medical care and pain and suffering. Call us today, at 888-352-0624 for a free consultation.