MADISON, N.J., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wyeth (NYSE: WYE) confirmed today that it will appeal the verdict in the Scofield, Rowatt and Forrester v. Wyeth cases in the Second Judicial District Court in Reno, Nevada, beginning with post-trial motions to The Honorable Robert H. Perry, who presided over the trial.
"This flawed verdict is the result of a trial riddled with errors," says Lawrence V. Stein, Wyeth's Senior Vice President and General Counsel. "The events of last week and the confusion surrounding the jury's deliberations only confirm our view that this verdict will not survive on appeal."
On Friday, substantial irregularities in the jury's deliberations came to light. Judge Perry informed the parties that he had reason to believe that some jurors thought that they had awarded punitive damages as part of the $134 million, ostensibly compensatory, verdict for the three plaintiffs on Wednesday. Wyeth's motion for a mistrial due to the confusion was denied.
In response to an interrogatory from the court, the jury subsequently confirmed that its original verdict included punitive as well as compensatory damages. Over Wyeth's objection and after denying Wyeth's renewed motion for a mistrial, the judge then instructed the jury to re-deliberate, focusing first on compensatory damages only. The jury returned a revised verdict totaling $35 million in compensatory damages on Friday. Plaintiffs were then permitted to argue for punitive damages and jurors were instructed to deliberate yet again today, resulting in a new punitive award totaling $99 million.
The Reno case is the seventh to reach a verdict since trials began in the hormone therapy litigation last year. All of the prior cases have been decided in Wyeth's favor at the trial court level. Three of the other six trials resulted in jury verdicts in favor of Wyeth; one of the plaintiffs' verdicts was overturned and judgment entered in favor of Wyeth; and the plaintiffs' verdicts in the remaining two trials were thrown out and new trials ordered. Three other cases have been dismissed by courts on summary judgment and a dozen other trial-set cases have been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs before trial. In each of the prior cases involving a plaintiff's verdict, the court expressly ruled that there was no legal basis for an award of punitive damages.
Premarin(R) (conjugated estrogens tablets USP) and Prempro(TM) (conjugated estrogens/medroxyprogesterone acetate tablets) are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective when used as indicated.
Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products and nonprescription medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The Company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements based on current expectations of future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include risks associated with the inherent uncertainty of the timing and success of product research, development and commercialization (including with respect to our pipeline products), drug pricing and payment for our products by government and third- party payors, manufacturing, data generated on the safety and efficacy of our products, economic conditions including interest and currency exchange rate fluctuations, changes in generally accepted accounting principles, the impact of competitive or generic products, trade buying patterns, global business operations, product liability and other types of litigation, the impact of legislation and regulatory compliance, intellectual property rights, strategic relationships with third parties, environmental liabilities, and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our current reports on Form 8-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and annual report on Form 10-K, particularly the discussion under the caption "Item 1A, Risk Factors." We assume no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
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