CHICAGO — (Mealey’s) An Illinois state court jury on May 15 returned a defense verdict in an Actos bladder cancer death case after four weeks of testimony (In Re: Actos Litigation, No. 11 L 010011, Diane Whitlatch, et al. v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., et al., No. 12 L 6087, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
Diane Whitlatch sued Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc. and related entities in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that the defendant failed to warn her husband, William, or his doctor that Actos causes bladder cancer.
In April 2001, William Whitlatch was prescribed Actos to treat his type 2 diabetes. In April 2005, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which he died of in December 2006. In 2012, Diane sued Takeda.
Actos is an oral prescription drug to help lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetics.
1st Trial Of Almost 1,500
The trial was the first in the Illinois Actos centralized litigation docket. In January, the court said there were 1,498 cases.
The trial began April 21.
According to a May 15 Takeda press release, the jury found in favor of the defendant.
“We empathize with the Whitlach family but agree with the verdict,” Takeda General Counsel Kenneth D. Greisman said in the release.
Judge Deborah Dooling presided.
In April, Judge Dooling found that Takeda acted in bad faith by destroying company documents during litigation but said Whitlatch did not show she was prejudiced by the missing documents. The plaintiff’s motion for sanction delayed the start of the trial by two months.
Takeda’s destruction of or failure to preserve documents was also found by a federal judge overseeing the Actos multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
4 Wins, 1 Loss
According to Takeda, the trial was the fifth involving Actos and claims of bladder cancer. Takeda has prevailed in four of the five, but two initially resulted in findings for plaintiffs before being overturned.
In April, a jury in the first federal Actos trial awarded the plaintiffs $9 billion, most of it punitive damages.
Another state court trial is under way in the Clark County Circuit Court in Nevada. Closing arguments begin May 19.
Whitlatch is represented by Steven Maher of the Maher Law Firm in Winter Park, Fla., Tor Hoerman of TorHoerman Law in Edwardsville, Ill., and Hunter Shkolnik of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik in New York.
Takeda is represented by Sherry Knutson of Sidley Austin in Chicago.
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