IN DEFENSE OF
IN NEW JERSEY
Diane Sullivan will
go to any lengths
to defend Merck
It’s not Diane Sullivan’s style, she told us in 2007, to lose her cool in
court and utter a not-so-nice four-letter expletive during a Merck &
Co. case she was defending. But she did, and before she knew it, the
media donned her a “feisty, combatative” female lead counsel. “As
an attorney, your client deserves a passionate defense,” she said in
the story. Her clients certainly get that and more from the award-winning Dechert commercial litigator. Not only did she give Merck
its first-ever win in Vioxx litigation, after our story, she won for Merck
another first: a defense verdict in a long-term care case. In 2010, her
docket heated up once again in the pharmaceutical defense arena.
This time she went to bat for AstraZeneca in its litigation involving
the prescription drug Seroquel. She won for AstraZeneca in that
trial, the first trial of more than 20,000 claims involving the drug.
The press dubbed the win “huge,” most notably the defense’s finding
that the drug warnings were adequate.
Sullivan is a master at weaving a narrative within the confines of a case
bound by scientific and specialized data. In closing arguments for the
AstraZeneca case, she faced an expert who saw all risks that none of
the treating doctors saw in their patients. The quick-witted Sullivan,
in an effort to imply that the doctor saw things that nobody else
did, put a slide up that referenced the film The Sixth Sense, bringing
complicated issues to the jury in an intelligent, entertaning way. It’s
no wonder she tops top lists across the country. Currently, she’s the
lead trial lawyer for Philip Morris in a St. Louis trial in which 37 hospital
plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 billion in reimbursements for
charity care and bad debt expenses related to smoking.
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