$1 Billion Diet Drug Case Settles

Houston plaintiffs lawyer John O’Quinn has settled a case against the makers of a diet drug that originally resulted in a $1 billion verdict, Texas Lawyer reports.

The agreement means dismissal of a pending appeal that would have considered whether the state’s cap on punitive damages limited recovery. The law limits punitives to double the compensatory damages plus $750,000.

O’Quinn had contended the cap did not apply because the defendant, Wyeth, had intentionally destroyed or concealed public documents.

The suit had claimed a patient died of pulmonary hypertension because of Wyeth’s diet drug Pondimin, one of the pharmaceuticals known as fen-phen, the newspaper says.

In other news, O’Quinn, who also represents Virgie Arthur, mother of the late Anna Nicole Smith, was sued Friday for slander by Smith’s lawyer-companion Howard K. Stern. Stern’s suit claims O’Quinn appeared on several national TV shows and he suggested that Stern murdered Smith.

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