Retired judge sues GSK as personal injury lawyer; Once certified class action against company

Andrea Dearden and Kelly Holleran Oct. 14, 2010, 6:20am


Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley is part of a legal team leading two separate product liability suits filed the same day in Madison and St. Clair counties over the diabetes drug Avandia.

O'Malley retired as judge on July 30 to join the St. Louis personal injury firm of Carey, Danis and Lowe.

As judge, he had presided over at least one class action against drug companies. In 2005, he certified a case against Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, over the cholesterol fighting drug Baycol. The Illinois Supreme Court overturned O'Malley's ruling in 2009.

In the Avandia suits filed Oct. 1, O'Malley now takes on GlaxoSmithKline as an adversary.

According to the suit filed in St. Clair County, Illinois residents Ida Akins and Allen McAllister say GlaxoSmithKline was wrong in selling a diabetes drug without first warning of potential serious side effects from which they suffered.

Walgreens is a co-defendant in both suits.

Akins and McAllister claim they used Avandia to treat their type 2 diabetes mellitus, but suffered severe injuries from their ingestion of the drug.

Avandia caused Akins and McAllister to suffer a heart attack, they say.

"Before and on or about the time when Avandia was prescribed and used by Plaintiffs, GSK knew, or should have known, that Avandia was associated with a significant increased risk of heart failure, myocardial ischemia and ischemic events such as cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke," the suit states.

In the Madison County suit, Illinois residents Raymond Griggs and Rudolph Klepitsch also claim the drug caused them to suffer serious heart problems after they used it to treat their type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Griggs and Kleptisch accuse the defendants of negligence, negligent pharmaco-vigilance, a breach of express warranty, a breach of implied warranty, fraud, and a failure to warn. They say both GSK and Walgreens are liable for their injuries because they created and heavily marketed Avandia as safe, despite knowing the drug posed a substantial health risk to patients with type-2 diabetes.

They are suing for an undisclosed amount in actual and punitive damages along with court costs and fees.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 10-L-1024

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-518.

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