| April 18
April 18 An Abbott Laboratories spinoff
urged a federal appeals court to revisit a ruling in a case
against GlaxoSmithKline Plc, but without disturbing
landmark constitutional protections for gays and lesbians.
In a brief filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco on Thursday, AbbVie Inc said the full
court should review an initial three-judge decision that found a
gay man was improperly excluded from jury service due to his
The court in reaching that conclusion in January ordered a
new trial for GlaxoSmithKline Plc against AbbVie, which
contended Thursday that the 9th Circuit's ruling needed review
due to its potential to affect "thousands of jury trials."
But AbbVie said it is not asking for the court to reconsider
a holding that heightened the constitutional protections judges
in several Western states must now apply when evaluating laws
that curtail gay rights.
"Abbott condemns discrimination in all forms, including in
jury selection, and no discrimination occurred here," Abbott's
A spokeswoman for Glaxo did not respond to a request for
The case involved Abbott's pricing of HIV medications, a
contentious issue in the gay community. Glaxo accused Abbott of
improperly increasing the price of one drug, Norvir, to help it
preserve sales growth of one of its other HIV blockbusters,
Norvir plays a key role in AIDS-fighting cocktails because
it can boost the effectiveness of other drugs. Glaxo accused
Abbott of raising Norvir's price by 400 percent in 2003, as part
of an effort to harm competitors whose drugs were dependent on
being used in combination with Norvir.
Glaxo had sought $571 million, but after a four-week trial
came away with only a $3.5 million jury award.
AbbVie had initially let the deadline to seek 9th Circuit
reconsideration pass, and the company said March 10 it would not
seek to appeal the 9th Circuit's landmark ruling to the U.S.
But on March 27, the 9th Circuit, without prompting from the
parties, instructed AbbVie and Glaxo to address whether a larger
panel of judges should review the case.
Dirk Van Eeden, a spokesman for AbbVie, said the company
opposes discrimination. But AbbVie is "raising the fact that a
well-established procedure in jury selection was not followed,"
"This omission may have important privacy implications for
potential jurors, such as the possibility of having to disclose
their sexual orientation in court and under oath," he said.
"These implications go beyond the underlying case and may
warrant a larger panel's consideration."
The case in the 9th Circuit is Smithkline Beecham Corp dba
GlaxoSmithKline vs. Abbott Laboratories, 11-17357.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Jonathan