A federal judge has denied a pharmaceutical company's motion to dismiss a wrongful death suit filed by a woman who killed her mother in a drug-induced "homicidal compulsion."
However, U.S. District Judge David K. Winder granted The Upjohn Co.'s request for partial summary judgment on breach of warranty claims raised by Ilo Marie Grundberg.Grundberg, 61, is seeking $21 million from Upjohn, contending she killed Mildred Coats after taking the prescription sleeping medication Halcion.
Grundberg took the Upjohn-manufactured drug before shooting Coats, 82, eight times in the head in their Hurricane mobile home on June 19, 1988.
A 5th Circuit judge dismissed second-degree murder charges against Grundberg after psychiatrists testified the killing was the result of her addiction to Halcion, also known by its generic name Triazolam.
The current suit alleges that Upjohn, of Kalamazoo, Mich., knew or should have known that Halcion could cause intoxication even when properly prescribed and taken according to directions on the package.
Among the possible effects of Halcion, the suit says, are "severe depression, hallucinations, psychosis, organic brain damage, bizarre and profoundly disturbed behavior . . . and homicidal compulsion."