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Following Huge Judgment against It, Takeda Files Motion for New Trial

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Shreveport, LANot long after a jury returned a $9 billion award for plaintiffs in an Actos lawsuit, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has filed a motion for a new trial. Earlier in 2014, a jury in an Actos bladder cancer lawsuit found in favor of the plaintiffs, and awarded $9 billion in punitive damages, after a judge found that missing Takeda documents could be assumed to support the plaintiff’s allegations against the company.

The lawsuit (Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, International et al., No. 6:12-cv-0064) alleged that Terrence Allen developed bladder cancer due to his use of Actos. During the trial, allegations were made that Takeda officials purposely destroyed documents related to Actos. Those allegations led the judge to instruct the jury that it could assume that the destroyed documents would have supported the plaintiff’s allegations about the risks associated with Actos use.

Finding for the plaintiffs, the jury awarded Allen $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $9 billion in punitive damages.

Takeda’s move comes as no surprise, given the amount the jury awarded the plaintiffs. Arguing that the “multi-billion dollar punitive damages awards are unconstitutional and so excessive as to per se demonstrate passion and prejudice,” Takeda filed a motion for a new trial or, if a new trial is not granted, to have the punitive damages dropped to being no more than the amount of the compensatory damages. The company also argued that it is entitled to a new trial “because the Court committed prejudicial errors in its evidentiary rulings and its instructions to the jury.”

Takeda notes that the $9 billion in punitive damages is more than 6,100 times larger than the compensatory damages. The company also argued that its actions do not meet the test for reprehensibility, one of the factors used to determine punitive damages. Specifically, Takeda notes that Actos is a life-saving medication that is still prescribed by physicians because the risk of bladder cancer associated with the drug is low.

The motion also argues that when Takeda destroyed documents it was not under a legal duty to preserve those documents. The trial judge found that as of 2002 Takeda had a legal duty to preserve documents, but Takeda argues that the legal duty did not exist until the summer of 2011.

Takeda also argues that there is no evidence that it destroyed the documents in bad faith, contending that it had no reasonable anticipation of bladder cancer lawsuits until 2011.

“Takeda denies that it deleted files with the intent of shielding those files from discovery in litigation,” the motion states.


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