Victory in High-Profile, High-Damage Trial

L&G Law Group , LLP partners Robert H. Smith and Scott R. Wolfe recently obtained a victory in a trial involving a Chicago bank president and CEO.  Bob and Scott defended an internist who had been the plaintiff’s primary physician for many years.  In 2001 the patient, then 41 years old, asked the internist if he could try Androgel, a testosterone supplement, allegedly for hair loss, which would be an inappropriate use of the drug.  Androgel is contraindicated for men with known or suspected prostate cancer, as it has the potential of causing prostate cancer to accelerate.  Plaintiff alleged the physician should have performed cancer screening before initiation of Androgel and that annual screening should have been done to monitor the medication and to screen for the potential for prostate cancer.  No screening was done until 2006.  An initial PSA screening test was abnormal at 4.1 (normal is 4.0 or less).  Despite the abnormal PSA test result, plaintiff’s Androgel prescription was refilled.  Eight months later, in August of 2007, plaintiff had repeat labs done which revealed a PSA of 7.8.  After a referral to a urologist, plaintiff, then 47, was diagnosed with metastatic, high-grade prostate cancer.  He underwent experimental treatments at the Mayo Clinic but died in 2009 at 49 years old.  His lost income alone was in the millions of dollars and he had two years of pain and suffering and left two teenage sons, both of whom were Eagle Scouts. Bob and Scott argued the standard of care did not require prostate cancer screening be done on a young patient starting Androgel.  They also argued the plaintiff complained of low libido, not hair loss, as the reason for wanting Androgel and the plaintiff had a confirmed low testosterone level on labs, warranting the medicine.  They also argued it is controversial whether testosterone supplements aggravate prostate cancer and that plaintiff developed the most aggressive prostate cancer there is, Gleason’s 10, which accounts for 1 to 10 percent of prostate cancers and is always incurable because by the time it can be detected it metastasizes and is fatal.  The trial was over three weeks with testimony from 11 expert witnesses. The jury returned a verdict in Bob and Scott’s favor in 40 minutes, including their lunch, with a unanimous verdict on their first vote.