Removal of gay juror takes case into uncharted territory
By Paul Elias, APSAN FRANCISCO--A multibillion-dollar case between two giant pharmaceutical companies has unexpectedly turned into a gay rights legal fight that raises questions over whether lawyers can remove potential jurors based solely on their sexual orientation.
September 20, 2013, 12:21 am TWN
The case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco centers on whether Abbott Laboratories broke antitrust laws when it increased the price of its popular AIDS drug Norvir by 400 percent in 2007. But attention is also on the panel's look at whether Abbott wrongfully removed a juror in the case, brought by competitor SmithKlineBeecham.
The appeals court gave little indication Wednesday whether they would give gays the same status race and gender play in jury selection.
The court is expected to rule at a later date.
The drug's cost increase angered many in the gay community. SmithKline has been joined by gay rights activists Lambda Legal and other public interest groups, who filed their own legal argument urging the court to protect gays from getting removed from juries for no reason.
SmithKlineBeecham says it was meant to harm the launch of its new AIDS treatment, which requires use of Norvir.