The manufacturers of the sleeping pill Halcion hope federal copyright laws will keep a Utah woman and her attorneys from going public with information the company shared with them about Halcion.
Upjohn Inc. seeks to block, among other things, the publication of certain internal Upjohn reports that relate to reported murders, attempted murders, threats of attacks, suicides and attempted suicides associated with the use of Halcion.Upjohn filed a suit in federal court Tuesday asking Judge David Sam to issue a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction preventing Ilo Marie Grundberg and her attorneys from sharing 8,200 pages of Upjohn documents with the public. Upjohn argued that all documents prepared by the company are protected by federal copyright laws.
Grundberg shot and killed her 83-year-old mother, Lucille Coats, on June 19, 1988. Grundberg has sued Upjohn, claiming that she killed her mother as a direct result of taking Halcion. Grundberg's doctor prescribed Halcion for Grundberg to combat her insomnia.
"I think this is simply a move on Upjohn's part to keep people from learning what's contained in the documents," said Neal A. Pope, Grundberg's attorney.
A court order prohibited Pope from discussing the contents of the documents, he said.
"They're our documents," countered Upjohn's attorney Lane Bauer. "Anybody has a right to keep their own documents to themselves."
In preparation for trial, Grundberg and her attorneys went through hundreds of thousands of pages of Upjohn documents regarding Halcion, Upjohn's suit said. Upjohn and Grundberg's attorneys had agreed that all documents would be considered confidential unless stipulated by the court.
But on Aug. 1, Pope filed a motion to have U.S. District Judge Thomas Greene lift the confidentiality restriction on 8,200 pages of documents. Grundberg's attorneys said in the motion that doctors, pharmacists and the general public would have a great interest in what those documents say and have a right to know their contents.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled in Greene's court next week. But Upjohn chose not to wait on the outcome of the hearing. Instead, the company filed a separate suit alleging copyright violations should Grundberg's attorneys make any of the documents public.