A jury may not consider punitive damages against a drugmaker that plaintiffs claim pushed sales of a heartburn drug even as the federal government moved to ban it, a judge ruled Saturday.
Circuit Judge Lamar Pickard said he was not convinced that drugmaker Janssen acted maliciously.
The ruling came after jurors awarded $100 million in compensatory damages against Janssen and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs said they suffered from anxiety, heart conditions and other health problems after using Propulsid.
Attorneys for the drugmaker will ask the judge to overturn or reduce the compensatory damages, said Janssen spokesman Doug Arbesfeld.
Propulsid has been linked to 80 deaths. Janssen took it off the shelves last year, but it is still used in limited cases.
The trial was for the original 10 plaintiffs, out of a total of 155. Each was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages.
Old subway cars' new home may be under the ocean
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina state Department of Natural Resources has offered to take 300 old New York City subway cars to build artificial reefs.
"We would provide additional habitat offshore with the hope that additional fish will have a chance to grow," said agency reef coordinator Bob Martore.
Some states have rejected the New York City Transit Authority's offer to provide the trains because the cars contain asbestos, but officials from the Natural Resources Department say the asbestos concentrations are not enough to pollute the ocean or fish.
New York officials developed the plan because of rising disposal costs for the cars. Ocean dumping is cheaper than stripping asbestos from the coaches and disposing of them as scrap. Transit officials estimate a savings of $20 million by using ocean disposal.
Escaped wallabies a step ahead of would-be captors
AMBLER, Pa. (AP) -- There have been reports of large rodents and kangaroos pacing motorists along local roads as searchers try to track down two wallabies that escaped from a petting farm and day school.
Last weekend, 6-year-old wallabies Rugby and Chloe darted from the Twin Spring Farm Day Camp & School in Upper Dublin, where they had lived since infancy.
The marsupials have shrugged off their would-be captors' attempts to use tranquilizer guns, sweet-potato traps and apple trails.
"It's kind of a waiting game for us at this point," said Richard Hood Jr., Twin Spring's assistant director.
Chloe, the female, is about 2 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds. Rugby is about six inches taller and weighs 35 pounds, Hood said.
Hood said he believes that the pair, being territorial, will stay in the area. That's also the hope of the children who attend classes at Twin Spring.
Liberal college town draws anger of conservatives
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- This left-leaning college town has been the target of several scathing e-mails since the terrorist attacks, with conservative critics calling residents everything from "lily-livered liberals" to "limp-wristed pantywaists."
Chapel Hill angered the opponents after town officials ordered a downtown restaurateur and Persian Gulf War veteran to remove an oversized banner that read "God Bless America; Woe to Our Enemies." Peace rallies have also been held, fueling criticism.
Chapel Hill, an oddity in the generally conservative South, has a strong history of supporting liberal social policies that rankle the right.