Illinois couple files Avandia mass tort claim in federal district court in Pa.

By Jon Campisi | Apr 30, 2012

An Illinois couple has filed a product liability complaint in federal court in Philadelphia against drug maker Glaxosmithkline, alleging the defendant’s drug Avandia, used to treat diabetes, caused the wife to suffer a heart attack five years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in the Avandia multi-district litigation at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges that the heart attack and congestive heart failure suffered by Barbara Potuznik on Dec. 3, 2006, came just three years after the woman was prescribed the diabetes drug by a physician.

Barbara and her husband are the two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was jointly filed April 26 by Illinois attorneys Trent B. Miracle and John J. Foley, of the firm Simmons, Browder, Gianaris, Angelides & Barnerd, and New York attorneys Jayne Conroy and Clinton B. Fisher of the firm Hanly, Conroy, Bierstein, Sheridan, Fisher & Hayes.

The lawsuit claims that the defendant knew as far back as 1999 that Avandia and its generic equivalents were “unreasonably dangerous and could cause heart attacks, cerebral vascular accidents, congestive heart failures and deaths.”

Despite being made of the numerous reports of injuries, Glaxosmithkline still “failed to take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that the consuming public, including Plaintiff, was aware of the increased risk of suffering a heart attack, cardiovascular injury, cerebrovascular accidents, or death,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that the Avandia ingested by the plaintiff was “defective in that it exposed [her] to the risk of suffering a heart attack or other cardiovascular injury and that it could ultimately lead to death.”

The mass tort claim accuses the defendant of acting with fraud, malice, oppression, and a “conscious disregard” for the plaintiffs and the general public’s safety, and that the alleged wrongful conduct was done with the advance knowledge, authorization and/or ratification of higher-ups with Glaxosmithkline.

Prior to the winter of 2011, which is when she suffered her heart attack and congestive heart failure, Barbara Potuznik was never made aware of the cardiac dangers associated with Avandia use, the suit claims.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict liability, negligence, breach of implied and express warranties, fraud misrepresentation, and violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

There is also a loss of consortium count on the part of Joseph Potuznik, alleging injuries relating to being deprived of his wife’s companionship.

The couple seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, damages relating to medical bills and lost wages, and other court relief.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-02252-CMR.


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