Delaware Judge Dismisses Seroquel Lawsuit After Excluding Expert

A Seroquel lawsuit that was set to be the first of thousands of cases nationwide to go to trial, was dismissed yesterday by a Delaware state court judge who excluded medical expert testimony necessary for the plaintiff to establish that she developed diabetes from Seroquel.

The Delaware lawsuit was filed on behalf of Nina Scaife, from Kansas, who allegedly developed diabetes after taking Seroquel off-label for treatment of insomnia. Her claim was one of more than 9,000 similar lawsuits over Seroquel filed in federal and state courts throughout the United States, and was scheduled for trial to begin on June 29, 2009.

Although it is widely acknowledged that Seroquel side effects may increase the risk of weight gain and diabetes, each individual plaintiff still has the burden of establishing a connection between Seroquel and their diabetes diagnosis.

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According to the Associated Press, Delaware Superior Court Judge Joseph Slights III ordered that Scaife’s claim must be dismissed after granting a motion filed the drug’s maker, AstraZeneca, to exclude the testimony of endocrinologist Valerie Peck. AstraZeneca’s Seroquel attorneys argued that summary judgment should be entered since Peck coud not rule out other risk factors that may have caused Scaife’s diabetes.

Scaife’s Seroquel lawsuit was scheduled to be the first case in the country to be submitted to a jury, as two federal court cases that were scheduled for trial in February 2009 were dismissed for similar reasons at the beginning of this year.

On January 28, 2009, U.S. District Judge Anne Conway dismissed cases brought by Linda Guinn and David Haller, which were pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Judge Conway found that the Plaintiffs would be unable to establish under Florida law that their diabetes was caused by Seroquel.

All federal Seroquel lawsuits are currently consolidated before Judge Conway for pretrial proceedings as part of a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Other Florida cases that were scheduled for early trials in the MDL are currently on hold pending the appeal of the Court’s ruling in the Guinn and Haller cases.


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