Law Project for Psychiatric Rights: PsychRights  

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The Zyprexa Papers Case XX
The Zyprexa Papers Scandal
Appeal of Permanent Injunction (2nd Circuit) New York Times
Trial Court Documents in the Zyprexa Papers Case Alaska Case XX
Department of Justice Criminal & Civil Settlement  Evelyn Pringle
The Forced Drugging of Bill Bigley Congress


On December 6, 2006, in connection with defending William Bigley's right not to be drugged against his will by the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API), PsychRights subpoenaed documents from David Egilman, MD, an expert witness in the massive Zypresa Products Liability litigation before Judge Weinstein in the Eastern District of New York.  Because the documents were under a secrecy order, Dr. Egilman was required to give Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Zyprexa, "a reasonable opportunity to object" before complying with the subpoena.  PsychRights expected Lilly to object in time and then make its case to the Alaska court that Mr. Bigley was entitled to the documents to establish that being drugged against his will was not in his best interests, a right that PsychRights had recently established in Myers v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute.  Instead, after almost a week had gone by without objection, Dr. Egilman determined Lilly had been given a reasonable opportunity to object and produced the documents to PsychRights, which immediately made them public by giving them to the New York Times and a number of individuals.  This resulted in a series of New York Times stories, starting with a front page article on December 17, 2006, Eli Lilly Said to Play Down Risk of Top Pill.  In an article a little over year later, Lilly Considers $1 Billion Fine to Settle Case, the New York Times reported "The people involved in the investigations said the inquiries gained momentum after December 2006, when The New York Times published articles describing Lilly’syears-long efforts to play down Zyprexa’s side effects and to promote the drug for conditions other than schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder," and on January 9, 2009, the United States Department of Justice announced, Eli Lilly and Company Agrees to Pay $1.415 Billion to Resolve Allegations of Off-label Promotion of Zyprexa $515 Million Criminal Fine Is Largest Individual Corporate Criminal Fine in History; Civil Settlement up to $800 Million.

However, the court in the Zyprexa Products Liability litigation found that what PsychRights' president and attorney in the Bigley case, Jim Gottstein, had done was improper and enjoined him from any further dissemination of the Zyprexa Papers.  That ruling was appealed by Mr. Gottstein, but on August 12, 2010 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court.  Mr. Gottstein issued the following statement about this decision:

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's injunction issued against me in connection with the subpoenaing and distribution of documents produced in the Zyprexa Products Liability Litigation.  I am disappointed in the ruling.  The Court of Appeals held the District Court did not abuse its discretion in finding the subpoena was a sham.  This is not the case.  I believe I acted properly, but understand why both courts would believe this.  Ultimately, I feel I did not adequately explain my actions to the District Court and it was understandably offended by what it thought was a deliberate violation by me of one of its orders.  My explanation was hampered at the time because critical information had been withheld from me, such as my client having been drugged with Zyprexa pursuant to a forced drugging court order shortly before I took his case.  I certainly intended no disrespect to the District Court.

Mr. Gottstein's legal fees in defending against Lilly's legal onslaught were over $315,000, including estimated unbilled fees, of which he still owes almost $130,000.  The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (now the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry), on whose board Mr. Gottstein sits, offered to establish a legal defense fund to help defray these expenses.  On May 23, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service issued a "30-Day Letter" charging that because he was on the board of directors, $16,761.50 paid to the attorneys from the Legal Defense Fund from donations specifically for that purpose,was an "excess benefit" and therefore subject to large financial penalties  Mr. Gottstein appealed that determination and prevailed.

Department of Justice Criminal & Civil Settlement


New York Times Pieces 

Evelyn Pringle Pieces in OpEdNews.Com

Documents Related to the Zyprexa Papers Case

Appeal of Permanent Injunction
Eli Lilly v. James Gottstein
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Dkt. No. 07-1107-cv

Appeal Documents

Other Documents in the Federal Zyprexa Case

Case XX

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights' (PsychRights) mission is to mount a strategic litigation campaign against unwarranted court ordered psychiatric drugging around the country.  At the end of June, 2006, PsychRights won what has been called the landmark Myers decision holding the existing Alaska statutory forced drugging regime unconstitutional:

We conclude that the Alaska Constitution's guarantees of liberty and privacy require an independent judicial determination of an incompetent mental patient's best interests before the superior court may authorize a facility like API to treat the patient with psychotropic drugs. . . . [W]e hold that in future non-emergency cases a court may not permit a treatment facility to administer psychotropic drugs unless the court makes findings that comply with all applicable statutory requirements and, in addition, expressly finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed treatment is in the patient's best interests and that no less intrusive alternative is available. (emphasis added).
Expecting that all that was going to happen was those two statements were going to be added to the other pro forma statement in the sham forced drugging proceedings (See, Wetherhorn I case), PsychRights always intended to pursue whatever follow-up cases seemed desirable  as set forth in its strategic litigation plan as developed for Alaska.  In fact, the Wetherhorn I case seeking to establish people's right to have attorneys appointed who would actually work on their behalf in fighting forced drugging was filed well before the Myers case was decided.   On November 28, 2006, PsychRights became aware of the opportunity to subpoena secret Zyprexa documents and needed a case from which to issue such a subpoena.  Doing so would potentially advance the national strategic agenda.Because of the confidentiality rights of people facing these types of cases, on Thursday, November 30, 2006, I wrote to the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API), the Alaska Attorney General's Office, the Public Defender Agency and the Court System requesting that people currently facing such a proceeding be notified of PsychRights' availability.  In this letter I pointed out that the Public Defender Agency can only be appointed if the defendant can't afford a lawyer and since PsychRights was willing to represent them the court was without authority to appoint the Public Defender Agency without determining whether they might want PsychRights to represent them.  Since normally 5-10 commitment hearings are held on Fridays (and Tuesdays) , starting at 1:30 and ending by 4:30, I also informed them I would be at API starting at 11:00 the next day, Friday, December 1st, to meet with potential clients for the day's hearing(s) and stay there until the hearings were over.


When I arrived, I started handing out the letter to visitors in the hope that someone would take it through the locked doors and give it to someone who was going through a forced drugging hearing that day.  At about 1:00 pm I was handed a letter, which indicated the day's hearings had been canceled.  In an attempt to intimidate me, the letter also accused me of a couple of ethical violations including direct solicitation of clients.  Since it is specifically allowed for public interest law firms like PsychRights to solicit, it was not an ethics violation.

I don't know why the hearings were canceled, but one can only hope the court system is taking people's right to counsel of their choice more seriously than API.  It is a very serious matter to deprive someone of their right to counsel of choice when the state is in court wanting to lock someone up and forcibly drug them.  The Myers case last summer showed the Alaska Supreme Court certainly finds forcible drugging a serious matter.

Over the weekend, I and a couple of volunteers handed out flyers trying to get visitors to let people locked up and facing a forced drugging hearing know of PsychRights availability to represent them.

API's previous attempt to intimidate me being unsuccessful, on Monday, I received an e-mail from Ron Adler, CEO of API prohibiting us from distributing the flyers, citing a state facilities management policy that he interpreted as allowing him to ban me from continuing to hand out the flyers. 

I e-mailed him back that now he was not only violating people's constitutional right to counsel before being locked up and forcibly drugged, but now violating free speech rights and that  I was inclined to come by and not only hand out the flyers tomorrow morning, but post them as well.

Mr. Adler responded by e-mail, on December 5th, first directing that I only communicate with his attorneys and then saying, "Of the 1,452 admissions we had last fiscal year, API utilized the Court Ordered Medication process on 57 occasions" and that  "it doesn't get much better than that!!!"

I responded that I wished that were true, but my conclusion was API, aided and abetted by the Attorney General's Office, "has constructed a legal subterfuge to evade the Myers decision of last June."

We were able to start running Public Service announcements and I heard from someone in the hospital who wanted to talk to me.

I went out to talk to him and API staff would not give him any of his legal paperwork and said he could not sign a "Release of Information" for authorizing the hospital to give it to me because he had a guardian (Steve Young) and the guardian had to authorize it. I informed the staff he had the right to his paperwork and that API should consult with the Attorney General's Office. 

I  e-mailed Mr. Young to allow his ward to obtain his own records and sign a release of information. 

Assembly-line involuntary commitment hearings seem to have resumed Tuesday, December 5th, without any response from the Presiding Judge about the systematic deprivation of people's constitutional right to choice of counsel. 

On December 6th, someone locked up at API and being forcibly drugged was able to get to me and PsychRights took his case. 

On December 7th it appeared that API is filing for guardianships to subvert the Myers decision with the Office of Public Advocacy (OPA), the public guardian, granting "consent" to the forced drugging.  I wrote the head of the Public Guardian Section of OPA stating that what they were doing is illegal and requesting that he stop it.

On December 8th, I was informed API is not filing guardianships on people in order to be able to forcibly drug its inmates.  I have been informed virtually everyone at API is being drugged so from my perspective how API only filed petitions to obtain court authorization to forcibly drug its inmates only 57 times out of 1,452 admissions is still unknown.  However, on January 8, 2007, former API employee Dorothy Pickles wrote to the Palin Administration about what is going on.

August 30, 2007,  Forced Drugging case against BB

Last modified 11/24/2021
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