Plaintiffs say that Pfizer’s anti-epileptic drug, Neurontin, causes people to commit suicide.
We say that it makes you scratch your head.
The first Neurontin-suicide case went to trial earlier this week. It sounded like a tough case for plaintiff: The decedent, who had taken Neurontin and then committed suicide, had a history of mental health disorders and abusing drugs, including cocaine. (Here’s a link to a Bloomberg story before the trial started.)
Yesterday, plaintiff — the decedent’s daughter — voluntarily dismissed the case, supposedly because an anonymous plaintiff’s lawyer had agreed to pay her $50,000. (Here’s the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reporting on that development.)
We’re scratching our heads about two questions:
First, if an anonymous donor decided to give you $50,000, wouldn’t you take the $50,000 and still pursue the case against Pfizer? I mean, $50,000 is nice, but $50,000 plus a plaintiff’s verdict would be even nicer, wouldn’t it? Why drop the lawsuit?
Second, who would decide, out of the blue, to give $50,000 to the decedent’s daughter? Is it really just some random lawyer whose heartstrings were touched by this particular plaintiff’s case? Or perhaps it was a plaintiff’s lawyer with another upcoming Neurontin trial who feared that a defense verdict in the first case out of the blocks would hurt the settlement value of his case? Or maybe something else is going on here?
We don’t have a clue, but we figured we’d share our puzzlement with you.