March 2, 2010: Newburgh lawyer wins $34.3M verdict for client vs. drugmaker Pfizer

By Christian Livermore

NEWBURGH — The Illinois woman who won a $34.3 million verdict against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has a local attorney to thank for it.

A Philadelphia jury ordered drug makers Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Upjohn Co., both now owned by Pfizer, to pay Donna Kendall — who developed breast cancer after taking hormone-replacement drugs — $6.3 million in compensatory damages and $28 million in punitive damages. It’s one of several recent verdicts against Pfizer connected to the drugs.

Ron Rosenkranz, senior trial partner at Newburgh-based Finkelstein & Partners, represented Kendall.

For 11 years, Kendall took Premarin and Prempro, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. That year, a large federal health study was stopped when researchers spotted a spike in breast cancers in women on Prempro.

Rosenkranz has a unique insight into Pfizer — which employs about 2,900 in Pearl River — and the lengths it took to protect its image.

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