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Hollingsworth LLP secures key defense verdict for client Novartis in first bellwether Aredia®/Zometa® jury trial.

news | October 6, 2010

After two hours of deliberation, a New Brunswick, New Jersey jury on October 6, 2010, returned a 7-2 verdict in favor of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in a ten-day trial involving Aredia® and Zometa®, bisphosphonate drugs given to people whose cancer has metastasized to their bones.  Bessemer v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., MID-L-1835-08-MT, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County (New Brunswick).

Bessemer v. Novartis was the first bellwether trial in the Aredia®/Zometa® consolidated litigation in New Jersey state court.  The parties selected two cases for trial: the Walsh case, selected by Novartis, was disposed of on Novartis’s motion for summary judgment.  Bessemer was selected by the plaintiffs’ steering committee.

Plaintiff Mrs. Jane Bessemer and her husband, Allen, alleged that she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) as a result of her receiving first Aredia® and then Zometa® to prevent skeletal-related events – such as bone fractures – when her breast cancer metastasized to her bones.

By a 7-2 vote, the jury rejected plaintiffs’ failure-to-warn claim by answering “No” to the question: “Did Novartis fail to provide an adequate warning to Mrs. Bessemer’s prescribing physician concerning the risks of jaw problems from Aredia® and/or Zometa® that Novartis either knew or should have known prior to Mrs. Bessemer discontinuing use of the drug(s)?”

Novartis was represented by Joe G. Hollingsworth and Neil S. Bromberg of Hollingsworth LLP and Beth Rose of Sills Cummis & Gross.