For the second time this week, a federal jury returns a defense verdict in favor of Firm client Novartis.



E.D. Mo. -- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Complex Litigation

On February 1, 2012, after less than two hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury in the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Novartis, following a one and a half week trial.  In Brodie v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 4:10-CV-138-HEA, plaintiff Sharon Brodie alleged that her deceased husband, John Brodie, developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”) as a result of his use of Novartis’s cancer drug Zometa® and that defendant had failed to provide an adequate warning to Mr. Brodie’s oncologist about the risk of ONJ.  Mr. Brodie’s oncologist testified that he prescribed Zometa® for Mr. Brodie in 2005 to reduce the risk of developing painful and debilitating bone damage due to his prostate cancer, which had metastasized to the bone.  He further testified that he became aware of the risk of ONJ as a result of a “Dear Doctor” letter, which Novartis mailed to him in the fall of 2004 to notify him of revisions to the Zometa® package insert.  Though plaintiff lodged various criticisms of Novartis’s label, the jury concluded that the warning to plaintiff’s oncologist was adequate based on what Novartis knew or should have known at the time and thus returned a verdict for the defense. 

The Brodie verdict marks Novartis's third federal defense verdict in a row in litigation arising out of the federal MDL, the first being in Hogan v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 06-Civ-260 (BMC) (EDNY).  A fourth case is presently on appeal.  Two other cases arising out of the federal MDL, Eberhart v. Novartis Pharm. Corp. and McDaniel v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., had been scheduled for trial in early 2012, but Novartis’s summary judgment motions were granted shortly before the trials were to begin.  Additionally, in the first bellwether trial arising from the New Jersey state court consolidated Aredia®/Zometa® litigation, the jury also found for Novartis in Bessemer v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., MID-L-1835-08-MT (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. Oct. 22, 2010).
In Brodie, Novartis is represented by Firm partner Kirby T. Griffis