January 3, 2001-Woman Settles Fen-Phen Case

A Bismarck woman has settled her case against American Home Products, maker of the diet drug Fen-Phen. Teena Conmy, 42, has accepted an undisclosed amount of money from the company instead of going forward with a trial this week, her attorney said.

'It's an amount that will adequately compensate her,' said Conmy's lawyer. Conmy's lawyer said she had to have a heart valve replaced after using Fen-Phen, and faces more surgery. The other 13 Fen-Phen cases pending in western North Dakota may end the same way, said Conmy's lawyer. They are being represented by a Houston firm that was involved in a Oregon trial were two plaintiffs won a jury verdict and punitive damages of $ 29 million. Conmy's lawyer said the other 13 clients are being offered settlements, and it's his understanding that American Home Products has made settlement offers to the '600-plus' clients that the Houston firm represents across the nation.

A spokeswoman for the Houston firm said they are preparing settlement agreements, and is still in the process of contacting all of the 13 western North Dakota plaintiffs about the settlement possibility. So far, those who have been contacted have reacted positively to the settlement being offered, she said. Conmy's lawyer understanding is that there are more Fen-Phen lawsuits in eastern North Dakota, but he said the Houston firm wasn't representing those plaintiffs.

Conmy's lawyer said physicians and pathologists have determined a connection between Fen-Phen and heart valve problems. He said the 13 western North Dakota plaintiffs' health problems range from malfunctioning heart valves to the most significant impact, death. Eleven of the plaintiffs live in Burleigh County. One lives in Williston and one in Hazen. Their ages range from early 40s to late 60s. The majority are women, but two are men. The payments in the federal settlement would range from several hundreds of dollars to $ 1.485 million for those who suffered the most serious impacts. Conmy's lawyer said that when she took the drug in 1995-96 she was very overweight and took Fen-Phen at her doctor's suggestion.

'I lost about 60 pounds,' she said. But Conmy stopped taking it when she received a letter from her doctor that said the drug was being pulled from the market. Conmy's lawyer said she had to undergo surgery in 1998 to replace a heart valve, because of leakage in the valve. And she is preparing to have surgery again, another heart valve replacement. But it's Conmy's understanding that even after the surgery there always will be health problems.

She's now on medication to regulate the thinning of her blood to prevent clotting in the new valve. 'I've had some problems keeping that regulated,' she said. Conmy, who has grown children and a grandchild, said it's not easy to do daily activities, and she had to give up being a certified nursing assistant at a local nursing home.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of taking any drug or supplement, call Law Offices of Robert Dourian now at 800-790-8856 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to review your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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