Notable Cases

Mulderig, et. al. v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals A Philadelphia, Pa., jury awarded $72.6 million to three plaintiffs in a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) case after hearing three weeks of testimony regarding the link between hormone replacement drugs and breast cancer. The jury determined that the HRT drugs, Premarin, Provera and Prempro caused the plaintiffs’ breast cancer and set the value of actual compensatory damages in the case against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Wyeth ultimately settled with the plaintiffs prior to the liability phase of the trial, which was to determine if punitive damages were due. The amount of the settlement agreements with the three Plaintiffs is confidential.

D’Onofrio v. Warren Township  – Plaintiff alleged in her suit that Warren Township violated her rights under the New Jersey whistle-blower law when it terminated her for filing a complaint in November 2007 against former municipal judge, Richard Sasso.  Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury awarded D’Onofrio back pay, future pay and pension totaling $551,903, and punitive damages of $827,854. She also awarded about $1.2 million in legal fees.

CastArt v. KPMG – Plaintiff and its principals brought this accounting malpractice action against KPMG asserted claims for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud, and sought both compensatory and punitive damages. Following discovery, KPMG moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ fraud claims, but denied the motion with respect to plaintiffs’ negligence claims. The case was tried before a jury over the course of twenty-two days. The jury decided plaintiffs’ malpractice and negligent misrepresentation claims in their favor and awarded them $31.8 million in damages, which represented what plaintiffs claimed Cast Art was worth at the time of the merger. KPMG filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, new trial, and remittitur. The trial court denied the motion, except for a $1.8 million reduction in the damages award, representing the amount Cast Art recovered in an action against Papel’s principals.1 Accordingly, the court entered an amended final judgment against KPMG for $30 million plus $8,096,902 in prejudgment interest. KPMG has appealed.

Browne Sanders v. v. Madison Square Garden, L.P. et al  In this sexual harassment/discrimination suit Plaintiff alleged that former NBA superstar Isiah Thomas sexually harassed her. She further alleged that her firing was in retaliation for her complaints about the alleged harassment. The lawsuit alleged that after Browne Sanders’ lawyer told Madison Square Garden of her complaint, Madison Square Garden forced her out of work while it investigated the situation. At the conclusion of the investigation, Madison Square Garden fired Browne Sanders, allegedly because of “an inability to fulfill professional responsibilities.”

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, and reinstatement to her former position with the Knicks, and was further expanded to include Knicks and Cablevision owner James Dolan as a defendant. After several weeks of testimony, the jury returned a verdict finding Thomas and Madison Square Garden liable for sexual harassment. The jury also levied $11.6 million in punitive damages against MSG, but not Thomas.

American Optical Corp., et al. v. Admiral Ins. Co., et al. – The insured entered into a number of settlements with plaintiffs’ counsel in anticipation of filing a pre-packaged (524(g)) bankruptcy.  Ultimately, the bankruptcy was never filed and the insured sought reimbursement for approximately $250 million in settlements that were paid, and pursued a declaration as to its rights under the policies in futero.  The matter was tried for approximately 30 days before Judge Espinosa in Union County, NJ.

Columbia Casualty Company, et al. v. Arjo Wiggins Appleton P.L.C. – The case, Columbia Casualty Company, et al. v. Arjo Wiggins Appleton P.L.C. (Case No. 05-CV-36), was heard in Brown County Circuit Court by Judge Donald Zuidmulder, and involved recovery under general liability insurance policies for the cost of remediating PCB contamination to the Lower Fox River. Specifically at issue in the case was the determination of property damage caused by the discharge of PCB—a byproduct of carbonless paper production—as well as whether Appleton’s 1998 notice to the insurance companies for PCB contamination-related coverage was issued in a timely fashion. Significantly, the jury unanimously ruled in favor of Appleton, and delivered its verdict after only five hours of deliberation.

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