Sabel v. Mead Johnson & Co.

Massachusetts District Court

737 F. Supp. 135 (D. Mass. 1990)

May 14, 1990

Statements against admission of another are not hearsay and admissible as against anyone who has an agency relationship with the declarant. An agency relationship exists in situations where there is an existence of a fiduciary relationship, an exercise of control, or where the employee has the power to alter the legal relationship between the employer and third parties.

Relevant Facts

Sabel (the plaintiff) sued Mead Johnson & Co. (the defendant), a pharmaceutical company. The plaintiff sought damages after he took an antidepressant drug manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed that the drug caused a priapism, which is a long and painful erection. The priapism caused the plaintiff to go into surgery that then left him impotent. At trial, three pieces of evidence were at issue: (1) a tape of a meeting between the doctors and employees of the defendant, in which the doctors and the employees discussed the potential for the antidepressant to cause an adverse reaction in the plaintiff, (2) a letter written to the Director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and (3) notes made by an FDA employee of a telephone conversation with an employee of the defendant.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

November 19, 2020

Judicial Opinion

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Procedural History

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Citations

737 F. Supp. 135 (D. Mass. 1990)