Type of action: Libel
Injuries alleged: Loss of reputation
Name of case: Eshelman v. Puma Biotechnology, Inc.
Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Case no.: 7:16-cv-0001
Name of judge or mediator: Judge James C. Dever III
Date resolved: 11/5/2022
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Megan L. Meier and Daniel P. Watkins, Alexandria; Andrew McVey, Wilmington, North Carolina
Description of case: In February 2016, North Carolina resident Fredric Eshelman filed a defamation suit against California-based Puma Biotechnology, Inc. After the court found that Puma’s statements about Eshelman were defamatory per se, on March 15, 2019, a jury found that Puma’s defamatory statements were false and had been made with actual malice and awarded Eshelman $15.9 million in compensatory damages and $6.5 million in punitive damages. On June 23, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the liability verdict and remanded the case for a retrial on damages.
Days before the scheduled retrial on damages, Puma agreed to pay Eshelman $16 million pursuant to a Nov. 5, 2022 settlement agreement.
Daniel P. Watkins, counsel for plaintiff, provided case information.