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Fentanyl Cases

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Compel Depositions of Plaintiffs’ Non-Testifying Experts

Johnson v. Alza Corp., M. O’Connor, MD and Evanston Regional Hospital

This case was a product liability and medical malpractice suit brought as the result of the death of a Wyoming Sheriff’s Deputy due to a defective and improperly prescribed fentanyl pain patch. After settling with the manufacturer of the pain patch, Plaintiffs de-designated their expert witnesses who had intended to provide opinions relating to the manufacturer of the patch. The remaining defendants, the doctor who improperly prescribed the patch and the hospital where he worked, wanted to use these experts as their own so they could blame the patch manufacturer at trial. On behalf of the Plaintiffs, Heygood, Orr & Pearson argued that the experts, despite having provided written reports, became consulting-only experts once they were de-designated. As such, they argued, the experts could only be deposed upon a showing of “exceptional circumstances” under which the remaining defendants were unable to procure their own experts on the subjects at issue. The HOP lawyers argued that the remaining defendants had not shown, and could not show, the existence of such “exceptional circumstances.” The trial court agreed, denying the defendants’ attempts to compel the experts’ depositions. This brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson on behalf of their client.

Respondent’s Answer to Petitioner’s Petition for Leave to Appeal

DiCosolo v. Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc.

This case was a wrongful death claim arising out of the death of Janice DiCosolo due to her use of a defective fentanyl pain patch designed, manufactured and marketed by Defendants. Heygood, Orr & Pearson represented the husband and three children of Janice DiCosolo. After Heygood, Orr & Pearson obtained an $18.5 judgment for the DiCosolo family, the Defendants appealed. They claimed that the verdict was excessive, that Plaintiff’s counsel made an improper closing argument, that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of other drugs the decedent may have taken and that the Plaintiff failed to prove the existence of a non-specific defect. The Court of Appeals rejected all of the Defendants’ argument and affirmed the judgment. The Defendants then appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court by filing a Petition for Leave to Appeal. This Brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson in response to that Petition. The Illinois Supreme Court subsequently denied the Petition for Leave to Appeal and the judgment in favor of the DiCosolo family became final.

Plaintiff’s Appeal Brief

DiCosolo v. Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc.

This case was a wrongful death claim arising out of the death of Janice DiCosolo due to her use of a defective fentanyl pain patch designed, manufactured and marketed by Defendants. After the DiCosolo family obtained an 418.5 judgment, the Defendants appealed. They claims that the verdict was excessive, that Plaintiff’s counsel made an improper closing argument, that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of other drugs the decedent may have taken and that the Plaintiff failed to prove the existence of a non-specific defect. The Court of Appeals rejected all of the Defendants’ argument and affirmed the judgment. This brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson on behalf of their client.

Response to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss or Stay on Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens

Meeusen v. Alza

This brief was filed in California state court in response to a motion filed by the defendants in a fentanyl pain patch case seeking a stay or dismissal of the action under the doctrine of forum non conveneins. The defendants argued that the case should be dismissed or stayed because it involved the death of a Michigan resident that occurred in Michigan allegedly as a result of the patient’s use of a fentanyl pain patch prescribed, purchased and used in Michigan. Under Michigan law, the plaintiff would have had no cause of action because Michigan does not recognize product liability claims against pharmaceutical manufacturers. Plaintiff responded that the defendant that manufactured the patch had its principal place of business in California and actually designed and manufactured the patch in California. Plaintiff argued that the balance of the public and private interest factors favored maintaining the suit in California. The court agreed and denied the defendants’ motion. This brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson on behalf of their client.

Response to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss or Stay on Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens

Koresky v. Watson

This brief was filed in California state court in response to a motion filed by the defendants in a fentanyl pain patch case seeking a stay or dismissal of the action under the doctrine of forum non conveneins. The defendants argued that the case should be dismissed or stayed because it involved the death of a Michigan resident that occurred in Michigan allegedly as a result of the patient’s use of a fentanyl pain patch prescribed, purchased and used in Michigan. Under Michigan law, the plaintiff would have had no cause of action because Michigan does not recognize product liability claims against pharmaceutical manufacturers. Plaintiff responded that the defendant that manufactured the patch had its principal place of business in California and actually designed and manufactured the patch in California. Plaintiff argued that the balance of the public and private interest factors favored maintaining the suit in California. This brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson on behalf of their client.

Response to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss or Stay on Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens

Jordan v. Alza

This brief was filed in California state court in response to a motion filed by the defendants in a fentanyl pain patch case seeking a stay or dismissal of the action under the doctrine of forum non conveneins. The defendants argued that the case should be dismissed or stayed because it involved the death of a North Carolina resident that occurred in North Carolina allegedly as a result of the patient’s use of a fentanyl pain patch prescribed, purchased and used in North Carolina. Plaintiff responded that the defendant that manufactured the patch had its principal place of business in California and actually designed and manufactured the patch in California. Plaintiff argued that the balance of the public and private interest factors favored maintaining the suit in California. The court agreed and denied the defendants’ motion. This brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson on behalf of their client.

Response to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss or Stay on Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens

Helzer v. Alza

This brief was filed in California state court in response to a motion filed by the defendants in a fentanyl pain patch case seeking a stay or dismissal of the action under the doctrine of forum non conveneins. The defendants argued that the case should be dismissed or stayed because it involved the death of a Michigan resident that occurred in Michigan allegedly as a result of the patient’s use of a fentanyl pain patch prescribed, purchased and used in Michigan. Under Michigan law, the plaintiff would have had no cause of action because Michigan does not recognize product liability claims against pharmaceutical manufacturers. Plaintiff responded that the defendant that manufactured the patch had its principal place of business in California and actually designed and manufactured the patch in California. Plaintiff argued that the balance of the public and private interest factors favored maintaining the suit in California. The court agreed and denied the defendants’ motion. This brief was filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson on behalf of their client.