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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues