Pfizer Inc. doesn’t have to pay more than $27 million in punitive damages to an Arkansas woman who blamed her breast cancer on the company’s menopause drugs, an appeals court ruled in ordering a new trial on the award.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis today upheld a jury’s March 2008 finding that the hormone-replacement drugs helped cause Donna Scroggin’s cancer and its award of actual damages. The three-judge panel also backed a judge’s decision to throw out the punitive award to Scroggin, who alleged two Pfizer units ignored or downplayed the risks of the drugs.
“Scroggin presented sufficient evidence to submit the question of punitive damages to the jury,” the appeals court said in its 41-page ruling. “The evidence presented could allow a jury to find or infer that Wyeth was guilty of malicious conduct within the meaning of Arkansas law.”
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