Pfizer told to avoid Neurontin witness

Since the surprise settlement of Pfizer's first Neurontin-related case to hit trial, the company and its lawyers have been ordered to stay away from a key plaintiffs' witness. Dr. David Franklin, who brought a whistleblower suit against the company (Warner-Lambert at the time), told the court that he and his family had been scared out of their wits by a detective working for Pfizer's lawyers, American Lawyer reports.

That detective called and visited Franklin on the day before he was scheduled to testify about Warner-Lambert's marketing practices vis-a-vis Neurontin. As a whistleblower, he wasn't likely to be complimentary. According to trial transcripts, Pfizer's attorneys tried repeatedly in court to keep him from testifying, but the judge refused. And when the detective contacted the Franklins, he made some comments that the family perceived as a threat.

Now, Pfizer and its lawyers say the detective wasn't ordered to do that. And they question whether Franklin might be exaggerating a bit. But the upshot of the matter is that, according to trial transcripts, the judge offered Franklin protection from the private detective in the form of a stay-away order. That order would apply to anyone from Pfizer. And the judge told Pfizer's lawyers that all communication with Franklin should go through his attorney, Tom Greene.

GrokLaw has posted excerpts of Franklin's testimony and of sidebar conversations among the judge, Pfizer lawyers, Franklin, and the plaintiffs' attorney, Mark Lanier. And it has links to opening statements in the trial, which the judge said were among the best she'd ever heard. So if you're into that sort of thing, check it out.

- see the American Lawyer story
- read the GrokLaw posting