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Forsyth v. Eli Lilly & Co.

United States District Court for the District of Hawaii

January 5, 1998, Decided ; January 5, 1998, Filed

CIVIL NO. 95-00185 ACK




This matter arises out of Plaintiffs Susan Forsyth, June Forsyth, William Forsyth and William Forsyth, Jr.'s (collectively, "Plaintiffs") action for wrongful death against Defendants Eli Lilly and Company ("Lilly") in connection with William Forsyth's murder of his wife,  [*2]  June, and his subsequent suicide. William Forsyth's physician prescribed Prozac for treatment of Forsyth's depression. After ingesting the drug over approximately a two week period, William Forsyth stabbed and killed his wife and then killed himself. According to Plaintiffs, Forsyth undertook these acts as a direct and proximate result of taking the drug Prozac. 1

On July 21, 1997, Lilly filed a motion for summary judgment and a separate motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims regarding June Forsyth. 2 On October 9, 1997, Plaintiffs filed oppositions to Lilly's motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment. On October 16, 1997, Lilly filed their respective reply briefs.


Motion To Dismiss

] On a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under 12(b)(1), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff's allegations are not presumed to be truthful, and the plaintiff has the burden of proof that jurisdiction exists. Thornhill Publishing Co., Inc. v. General Telephone & Electronics Corporation, 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979) "[A] Rule 12(b)(1) motion can attack the substance of a complaint's jurisdictional allegations despite their formal sufficiency, whereupon the plaintiff must "present affidavits or any other evidence necessary to satisfy its burden." St. Clair v. City of Chico, 880 F.2d 199, 201 (9th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 993, 110 S. Ct. 541, 107 L. Ed. 2d 539 (1989).

] Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), in determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, this Court must accept as true the plaintiff's allegations contained in the complaint and view them in a light most favorable to the plaintiff.  Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974); Wileman Bros. & Elliott, Inc.  [*4]   v. Giannini, 909 F.2d 332, 334 (9th Cir. 1990); Shah v. County of Los Angeles, 797 F.2d 743, 745 (9th Cir. 1986). Thus, the complaint must stand unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff has alleged no facts that would entitle him to relief.  Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri, 901 F.2d at 699; Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 533-34 (9th Cir. 1984).

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1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 541 *; 1998 WL 35152135

SUSAN K. FORSYTH, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of June M. Forsyth and William D. Forsyth and WILLIAM F. FORSYTH, JR., Plaintiffs, vs. ELI LILLY AND COMPANY, an Indiana corporation; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; and DOES 1-100, inclusive, Defendants.

Disposition:  [*1]  Lilly's motion for summary judgment GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART and motion to dismiss DENIED.


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Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, General Overview, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Governments, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, Judgments, Preclusion of Judgments, Res Judicata, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Genuine Disputes, Materiality of Facts, Motions for Summary Judgment, Hearings, Oral Arguments, Supporting Materials, Memoranda of Law, Torts, Products Liability, Types of Defects, Design Defects, Marketing & Warning Defects, Theories of Liability, Strict Liability, Negligence, Evidence, Inferences & Presumptions, Presumptions, Rebuttal of Presumptions, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Express Warranties, Commercial Law (UCC), Contract Provisions, Warranties, Breach of Warranty, Types of Commercial Transactions, Sales of Goods, Contracts Law, Measurement of Damages, Foreseeable Damages, Testimony, Expert Witnesses, Admissibility, Daubert Standard, Scientific Evidence, Standards for Admissibility, Helpfulness, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion