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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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