Court Victory Allows Widow to Bring Drug Label Suit to Federal Court

A rare move this week by U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel brings a legal victory for a Chicago widow whose fight to get her case heard in a federal trial has been followed by NBC5 Investigates for two years.

Wendy Dolin is suing drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, alleging among other claims that the company's failure to warn about side effects of its drug Paxil contributed to her husband's death. 

Zagel on Tuesday said he was an exercising an option he has used only three times in his career, declining to hear arguments for summary judgment by GSK, and sending the case straight to trial. Summary judgment would have allowed the court to hear those arguments, potentially bypassing a trial.

Dolin's attorneys said they are thrilled Wendy Dolin will have her day in court. The trial is set for September.

When NBC5 Investigates first contacted GSK about Dolin’s allegations, the company said in a statement it intends to defend itself vigorously against claims made in the lawsuit. About the ruling in federal court this week, a GSK spokesperson said:

“The plaintiff claims GSK should be held liable for failing to warn of the risk of suicide in older adults taking Paxil. In this case, however, Mr. Dolin was taking a generic version of Paxil, which is not GSK's product. In addition, the FDA rejected GSK's attempt in 2007 to provide the very warning the plaintiff seeks.”

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