May 22, 2001 - Anti-Depressant Lawsuit Begins in Cheyenne
A civil jury trial started Monday in U.S. Magistrate Judge William Beaman's courtroom regarding the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Donald Shell. Mr. Shell saw his doctor for anxiety, stress and possible depression and was given samples of an antidepressant called Paxil. He then shot himself, his wife, his daughter, and his 9-month-old granddaughter.
Andy Vickery, the attorney for the plaintiffs, alleged that SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (which after a recent merger became GlaxoSmithKline), was on notice as early as 1990 that a small group of people who took drugs like Paxil were subject to a "serious risk of violence and suicide" and that "Don Schell was one of those people."
Vickery also argued that the company failed to provide adequate and timely warnings that the drug can cause suicide or violent behavior and to properly test the drug for such outcomes. He further alleged that the company also misrepresented the safety of Paxil.
"The only real explanation is that it was a drug-induced craze," continued Vickery who asked the jury to blame the drug, not Mr. Schell.
But defense attorney Charles Preuss maintained that Paxil is effective, safe and helps fight depression, and that the drug did not have enough time to have a therapeutic effect on Schell and induce violent behavior. In his opening argument he said that "This case isn't about two Paxil pills, it is about how Donald Schell's deepening depression caused him to commit this horrible crime."
He said Schell had a long history of major depression and often missed work. "Paxil is an effective drug treatment; Paxil saves lives," Preuss continued. "Don Schell was a proud man. He believed he was stronger than his depression."
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of taking any drug or supplement, call Law Offices of Robert Dourian now at 800-790-8856 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to review your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.