The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Pfizer Inc.’s appeal of a ruling that ordered a retrial on how much punitive damages should be awarded to a woman who developed breast cancer after taking the company’s hormone replacement therapy drugs.
Pfizer in its appeal argued that a retrial limited to just punitive damages had violated its constitutional right to a jury trial and that the trial judge in the case had improperly admitted the testimony of a scientific expert.
The jury awarded her compensatory damages of $2.7 million and punitive damages of $19.4 million against Wyeth, and $7.8 million against Upjohn.
A U.S. appeals court upheld the jury’s award of compensatory damages and said a federal judge had correctly set aside the punitive damages award against Upjohn as a matter of law. The appeals court ordered a new trial on punitive damages involving Wyeth.