Lilly to appeal $450M ruling over poisoned workers in Brazil

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Eli Lilly and Co. plans to appeal a ruling from a judge in Brazil that fined the pharmaceutical giant and an Italian firm $450 million for poisoning workers at a manufacturing plant in the South American country.

Brazilian federal prosecutors announced the verdict on Friday. They had accused a Lilly subsidiary of incinerating toxic waste from third parties, releasing heavy metals and gases that poisoned some of the 500 workers at the plant in Cosmopolis, according to Reuters.

The ruling followed a 2008 lawsuit against Lilly and Antibioticos do Brasil Ltda, a unit of Italy's ACS Dobfar, which now owns the site. Prosecutors said 77 of 80 former workers tested for the initial filing presented evidence of poisoning.

Lilly officials strongly objected to the judge’s verdict.

"Safety of our employees around the world is paramount," said Michael J. Harrington, senior vice president and general counsel for Lilly, in a statement released Friday.  "In this case, there is absolutely no basis for the court's decision that employees were harmed based on extensive scientific and medical assessments conducted by third-party health experts, as well as by Lilly.

"For that reason, we strongly disagree with the court's ruling and will appeal this decision."

The alleged contaminants—benzene and heavy metals—were never used in the manufacturing operations at the facility, according to the company. It also claimed the published ruling was based on inaccurate scientific claims and mathematical errors.

Lilly operated the manufacturing plant from 1977 to 2003, according to the company. Cosmopolis is about 90 miles north of San Paulo, Brazil.

Lilly spokeswoman Amy Souza said Monday that the firm still was scrutinizing the ruling, which was issued in Portuguese, to get a better sense of how it specifically applied to the company.

As part of the recent ruling, Judge Antonia Rita Bonardo prohibited operations at the plant for a year due to the environmental impact, according to Reuters.


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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.