EAST ST. LOUIS — A convicted murderer's civil action against three drugmakers arguing his medication made him commit the crime was dismissed after a magistrate judge threw it out on grounds of timeliness.
An April 18 order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois ruled plaintiff Tom Tuduj, who was convicted of first degree murder for killing his boss in 2006, was too late in filing his products liability claims in 2015. His complaint had been amended four times since then, and the three defendants in the case—Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC, GlaxoSmithKline and Wyeth-Pfizer—filed a motion to dismiss.
Tuduj filed the products liability action in March 2015 against the drug suppliers from his cell in Menard Correctional Center, where he is serving his 45-year sentence. His complaint claimed he would not have committed the murder if not for having taken the medications.
At his 2009 murder trial, Tuduj claimed he suffered from “involuntary intoxication” during the murder due to the mixture of anti-depressant Wellbutrin, hypertension medication Propranolol and sleep aid Ambien. If Tuduj was not taking the combination of drugs when the crime occurred, according to his argument, he would not have been under “a drugged state that prevented him from conforming his behavior to the requirements of law.”
But the jury in that trial deemed him cognizant enough when he committed the crime regardless of any medication mixture. The conviction further established, according to court documents, that he “was able to appreciate the criminality of his actions” despite the medication.
In another recent medication-related case, the Cook County Record reported how on Thursday, April 20, a Chicago jury held GlaxoSmithKline responsible to pay $3 million to a widow whose husband committed suicide by jumping in front of a train while on a generic version of the antidepressant Paxil. That case surrounded the adequacy of the medication's label in warning against negative side effects.
In this case, however, the defendants' motion to dismiss the charges against them were ultimately granted because of Tuduj's time-barred claims. According to the defendants, filing a 2015 claim nine years after the 2006 murder goes against the state’s two-year statute of limitations regarding personal injury neglect claims. The court's judgment in favor of the defendants was solely based on timeliness, the decision said, and not on the merits of Tuduj's products liability argument.