News reports abound about the recent victories of two women in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas over Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer). The two women, Connie Barton, and Donna Kendall, each took hormone therapy and, tragically, developed breast cancer. After long, hard battles with cancer, they each had to have their breasts removed in a procedure known as a mastectomy (Ms. Barton had a single mastectomy, and Ms. Kendall had a double mastectomy).
For their injuries, the separate juries concluded that Pfizer owes $3.7 million and $6.3 million in compensatory damages to Ms. Barton and Ms. Kendall, respectively. Even more interesting is that the juries deliberated on the issue of punitive damages—damages meant to punish the defendant for their wanton and reckless conduct. The punitive damage awards were $75 million and $28 million, respectively. That brings Pfizer’s total obligation in these two cases to $113 million. And, as we’ve reported before, the plaintiffs deserve every penny and more.
There are more than 10,000 other hormone therapy cases pending around the country. As Ms. Kendall’s attorney, Tobias Millrood stated: “It’s not a responsible reaction to keep these women on hold forever.” Unfortunately, Pfizer shows no indication of conceding defeat anytime soon.
Congratulations to the two plaintiffs, and the legal team that put their cases together. In particular, Tobi Millrood, the architect of the hormone therapy litigation, lead trial counsel in the Barton case, and dedicated representative of injured plaintiffs has done an excellent job standing up for the rights of women injured by hormone therapy. As we continue to see in this age of corporate greed, the drug companies are content to place their profits over people. We need people like Tobi to stand up and fight the good fight.
The following news article details a little about the uphill battle faced by these courageous women. It’s worth watching.