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Winston Partner Takes Firm Client to Trial, Claiming Fen-Phen Damaged Her Health

Posted Mar 6, 2009 8:58 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Corrected: Winston & Strawn has represented Wyeth in at least one case claiming the company’s diet drug fen-phen caused health problems. Now a junior partner at the law firm has taken the offensive, claiming in a Los Angeles trial that the diet drug has likely shortened her own life.

Jessie Kohler claims she took fen-phen for one year and four months. In 2004, she was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, a disease that eventually results in suffocation because the heart has trouble pumping blood into the lungs. Kohler was told the disease could take her life within 20 years, the Daily Journal reports (sub. req.).

Kohler, a trial lawyer who represents the defense side, claims in the suit that she can only work part-time and will never make equity partner as a result, the story says.

Wyeth counters that Kohler never got a legal prescription for the medication, a charge that could jeopardize Kohler’s law license if it is true, according to the story. The company’s lawyers say the weight control center where Kohler claims to have gotten a prescription has no record of her as a patient. Kohler was expected to claim the clinic’s record-keeping was shoddy.

The case resolved during trial.

Last updated on Jan. 4 to correct the length of time Kohler took fen-phen and her reason for doing so. In a statement supplied to the ABA Journal, Kohler says she took the drug for one year and four months.


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