CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) The global pharmaceutical company that makes the anti-depressant Paxil has asked a federal judge to change a verdict or grant a retrial in a lawsuit it lost.
Last month, a jury in Cheyenne ruled that taking Paxil triggered Donald Schell of Gillette to kill his wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself in 1998.
The jury also found that evidence presented during the trial found that Paxil can cause some people to kill themselves or others. The lawsuit was filed by relatives of Schell.
Paxil is part of a group of drugs that are commonly prescribed to treat depression.
But on Wednesday, attorneys for Paxil manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline asked U.S. Magistrate Judge William C. Beaman to overturn the jurys $8 million award, of which the company is responsible for $6.4 million, or allow a retrial.
GlaxoSmithKline attorney Vernon Zvoleff told Beaman he believes that a retrial would involve new information.
There are a number of clues on how the jury was misled, Zvoleff said, and the arguments were not based on scientific fact.
He said it is important to go back and look at the flaws and improper guidance.
One such flaw he pointed to was what he called the unreliability of the plaintiffs expert witness. Zvoleff said Dr. David Healys testimony contradicted what he has written in professional articles.
But attorney Andy Vickery, representing Schells relatives, said he believes that a retrial would only be a rehash of what already has been presented.
There is nothing new presented in the request for the retrial, Vickery said. Plus the court gave the defense plenty of latitude, despite my objections, to present this case.
Vickery said the defenses concern with Healys testimony is a matter of semantics, not substance.
Beaman said he would consider the companys request and reach a decision as soon as possible.
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