U.S. top court rejects Pfizer punitive damages appeal

WASHINGTON, June 21 Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:12am EDT

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it rejected an appeal by Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) of a ruling that ordered a retrial on how much punitive damages should be awarded to a woman who developed breast cancer after taking the company's hormone replacement therapy drugs.

Pfizer in its appeal argued that a retrial limited to just punitive damages violated its jury trial rights protected by the Constitution, and that the trial judge in the case had improperly admitted the testimony of a scientific expert.

A jury in Arkansas in 2008 sided with Donna Scroggin in her lawsuit against two Pfizer units -- Wyeth and Upjohn. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, after taking hormone replacement therapy drugs for 11 years. (Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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