The jury verdict in favor of a doctor who was sued for failing to advise a client of the suicide risks tied to prescription anti-depressant Lexapro has been upheld by the New Jersey Appellate Division. The appellate court judges concluded that defense attorneys did not make improper comments at trial that merited a new trial.
In a lawsuit filed by the family of John Sheridan, the jury had concluded that Sheridan’s physician had not breached a duty to warn Sheridan of potential side effects of the drug. Sheridan and his wife were found dead in their Montgomery Township home in September, 2014, with multiple stab wounds and burns from a fire. Sheridan, 72 at the time of his death, had been active in New Jersey state government, both as a deputy attorney general and lawyer for the state Turnpike Authority. He also served as assistant counsel to Governor William T. Cahill.
Investigators say that Sheridan was found beneath an armoire and initially concluded that the stab wounds were self-inflicted. The initial finding by the prosecutor’s office ruled the deaths a murder-suicide, based on testimony that Sheridan had been distraught and erratic in the days and weeks immediately prior to his death. His family, however, paid for an investigation and report from forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who concluded that Sheridan was murdered by an intruder. In January, 2017, state medical examiner Andrew Falzon announced that the suicide ruling had been reversed and the cause of death “could not be determined.”
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