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Cases & Deals

April 4, 2016

In Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, King & Spalding Wins Trial on Directed Verdict


In a Philadelphia courtroom, King & Spalding obtained a directed verdict for its long-time client GlaxoSmithKline, after the trial judge found that plaintiffs had failed to meet their burden as to causation. 

The case involved GSK’s prescription antidepressant medication, Paxil®, which plaintiffs claimed had caused a minor’s congenital heart defect.  Plaintiffs asserted claims for breach of express and implied warranty, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligent pharmacovigilance, failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation, strict liability, and design defect.  GSK obtained summary judgment on the majority of these claims, and plaintiffs proceeded to trial on their claim of failure to warn under the Mississippi Product Liability Act (MPLA).

Plaintiffs rested their case following two weeks of trial.  GSK then made a motion for nonsuit, the Pennsylvania equivalent of a directed verdict, under the learned intermediary doctrine.  The King & Spalding team argued that plaintiffs had failed to present evidence, as required by the MPLA, that plaintiff’s prescribing physician would not have prescribed Paxil® to her had GSK given a different warning.  After taking the matter under advisement for almost five hours, the trial judge granted GSK’s motion for nonsuit and dismissed Plaintiffs’ case in its entirety.