U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Jury Awards $3M for AndroGel Heart Attack

When you win more than $3 million in a case, it should be cause for celebration.

For the plaintiff in his case against a drug company, however, it was a big let down. Jesse Mitchell had won $150 million against the company three months earlier, but the judge threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial.

The latest decision wasn't exactly good news for the defendant either. AbbVie, which is facing more than 4,000 similar lawsuits, plans to appeal.

$3 Million Let Down

Abbie is fighting for its financial life after a jury awarded more than $140 million to a Tennessee man in a separate case last year. The plaintiff said AndroGel caused him to suffer a heart attack.

Mitchell, of Oregon, also claimed he had a heart attack due to the testosterone replacement drug. About 6,000 similar cases have been filed nationwide, most of them against AbbVie.

The company recently won a case against an Arizona man, who claimed he suffered an embolism from using AndroGel. In the meantime, Mitchell's case was the company's second loss.

The jury found that AbbVie was negligent for failing to warn of the risks from using the drug, and awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. However, jurors concluded the defendant was not strictly liable and did not fraudulently misrepresent the drug.

Bellwether Cases

Judge Matthew Kennelly is handling the multi-state litigation, which marshals similar lawsuits from federal courts across the country. The plaintiffs allege the drugs increased their risks for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

The complaints say drugmakers falsely advertised the effectiveness of testosterone replacement to treat diabetes, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. The companies invented "low testosterone" to boost sales, the plaintiffs allege.

The judge has selected five more cases, which are proceeding to trial, as bellwethers for the rest of the litigation.

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