U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered a new trial in the first bellwether against AbbVie Inc., in a multidistrict litigation accusing testosterone replacement therapy manufacturers of failing to warn of cardiovascular risks, finding that the jury must have misunderstood the issue of causation.
Plaintiff Jesse Mitchell claimed AbbVie’s testosterone treatment AndroGel was not adequately tested to better understand its cardiovascular risks. Despite this, the company aggressively marketed the drug for the off-label treatment of a made-up condition they called Low T. The jury awarded Mitchell $150 million in punitive damages, finding the company misrepresented its testosterone therapy. But the jury awarded no compensatory damages finding that the medication did not cause his heart attack.
In December, Judge Kennelly ordered a new trial on just one of Mitchell’s claims, saying that the jury’s verdict was “logically incompatible” because the company was not found liable in the case. But Saturday, the judge reconsidered his decision, ordering the jury’s verdict on all three claims be thrown out, and calling for the entire case to be retried.
“In this case, there is a reasonable likelihood that (perhaps among other things) the jury’s inconsistent verdicts resulted from confusion or misunderstanding regarding the causation requirement, which was common to or overlapping on all Michell’s claims,” he wrote in the order.
The new trial is scheduled for March 7, the same day the judge had selected for the single fraudulent misrepresentation claim. However, the length of the second trial will be shorter than the previous one.
In October, Jeffrey Konrad, another plaintiff in the multidistrict litigation who sued AbbVie was awarded more than $140 million in compensatory and punitive damages. AbbVie has asked the judge to reduce the award because Konrad’s punitive damages are a thousand times higher than his compensatory award.