Proctor v. Davis
Illinois Appellate Court
682 N.E.2d 1203 (1997)
Meyer and Marjorie Proctor (the Proctors) (plaintiffs) sued Meyer’s ophthalmologist, Dr. Michael J. Davis, and the Upjohn Company (defendants) for medical malpractice and products liability when Meyer lost his left eye after the corticosteroid Depo-Medrol, which was manufactured by Upjohn, was accidently injected directly (intraocularly) into Meyer’s left eye by Davis to treat Meyer’s deteriorating vision. Davis had previously injected Depo-Medrol around each of Meyer’s eyes (periocularly) with some success, and the second injection was also intended to be given periocularly to treat Meyer’s renewed problems in his left eye, but Davis mistakenly inserted the needle directly into Meyer’s left eye. Periocular use of Depo-Medrol was an off-label use that was known and encouraged by Upjohn for decades prior to Meyer’s incident. Upjohn also knew that accidental intraocular injections of Depo-Medrol had resulted in vision loss in at least three instances, but it failed to warn physicians of that known danger. The Proctors alleged that Upjohn had a duty to warn physicians that Depo-Medrol was toxic and difficult to remove if injected directly into the eye. A jury exonerated Davis but found against Upjohn and awarded the Proctors more than $3 million in compensatory damages and almost $125 million in punitive damages. The trial court remitted the punitive-damages award to $35 million. Upjohn appealed and argued that the Proctors failed to prove that a warning was required because the risk was too remote and because the specialized medical community was already aware of the risks. Upjohn also contested the amount of the punitive-damages award as excessive.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hartman, J.)
Dissent (Di Vito, J.)
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