First Diabetes Seroquel Lawsuit Dismissal Upheld on Appeal as Settlement Attempts Continue in Other Cases
The dismissal of a diabetes Seroquel lawsuit that was originally set for trial in February 2009 has been upheld by a federal appeals court. The decision comes as a mediator continues to try to bring plaintiffs and defendants to a settlement agreement for thousands of other cases that allege plaintiffs developed injuries from side effects of Seroquel.
On Wednesday, the Eleventh Circuit Appellate Court upheld the decision of a trial court to dismiss a Seroquel lawsuit brought by Linda Guinn, which alleged that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the risk of weight gain and diabetes. At the time of the original dismissal, the case was slated to be the first diabetes Seroquel trial in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).
U.S. District Judge Anne Conway, who is presiding over pretrial litigation for all of the federal lawsuits over Seroquel, dismissed Guinn’s lawsuit in January 2009 after excluding expert testimony that was necessary to establish she developed diabetes from Seroquel. The Court of Appeals rejected Guinn’s appeal, finding that her expert witness, Dr. Jennifer Marks, failed to adequately consider possible alternative causes for weight gain and diabetes.
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The decision comes as a court appointed mediator is working to determine if a settlement agreement can be reached between AstraZeneca and an estimated 22,000 different plaintiffs. Earlier this month, Stephen A. Saltzburg, the court-assigned mediator, reported that the ability to reach a settlement could hinge on the plaintiffs’ ability to provide complete medical records.
In November, Judge Conway ordered lawyers for both sides to meet with Saltzburg to see if there is any possibility for a Seroquel settlement before as many as 6,000 cases are sent back to the districts where they were originally filed for trial.
Last week, Saltzburg filed a status report with Judge Conway indicating that the Court’s encouragement of prompt submission of medical records by plaintiff firms might help get medical records in more quickly, allowing AstraZeneca to make a realistic estimate of what the universe of claims actually is and enter discussions on the value of claims.
Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is an atypical-antipsychotic that is a top selling drug for AstraZeneca, generating nearly $5 billion a year in sales. Approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of schizophrenia, it is also commonly used off-label for treatment of anxiety, obsessive dementia, compulsive disorders and autism. Seroquel has been used by more than 19 million people worldwide.
MarilynMay 2, 2010 at 6:18 am
I was given seroquel 25 mg for sleep problems. I am telling you that the weight gain from this drug is unreal. I am also now a diabetic, but can't remember if the date of taking the seroquel and diagnosis of diabetes came after starting seroquel.
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