Xarelto maker claims #killinnazis Instagram posts are part of lawyers’ ‘xenophobic’ strategy

Internet Law


Administration and laboratory buildings of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals in Berlin-Wedding, Germany. Alfred Sonsalla / Shutterstock.com

Lawyers seeking to overturn a $27.8 million verdict against the makers of the blood thinner Xarelto contend that nine Instagram posts using the hashtag #killinnazis are part of a strategy by their opponents to link the defendants to Nazi Germany.

In motions filed last week, lawyers for German-based Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals said the Instagram posts apparently came from accounts managed by three lawyers for plaintiff Lynn Hartman, the Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) reports. The posts were connected to events in the Xarelto litigation, according to the filing.

The lawyers for the defendants said the posts, along with their opponent’s “xenophobic” closing arguments, pointed to the strategy.

During the closing, lawyer Gary Douglas had asked jurors to “swing the mighty sword of justice to let those folks know, in Berlin, Germany, when they sell their drugs to us Americans to make their billions” that they need to provide more information about bleeding risks on the label. The Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) covered the arguments.

Bayer is represented by Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott and Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, while Janssen is represented by Drinker Biddle & Reath, according to previous coverage by the Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.).

Lawyers for the plaintiff countered that the defense motion was based on “hyperbole” and was “a desperate attempt to create an appellate issue.” There is no evidence the jurors were exposed to the Instagram posts using the hashtag, which is a reference to the Quentin Tarantino movie Inglourious Basterds, they said in a legal filing.

Judge Michael Erdos of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ordered the plaintiffs to disclose who took a photo of the courtroom and posted it to Instagram under the #killinnazis hashtag, according to the Legal Intelligencer. He also asked lawyers for the drug makers to provide more legal authority for their contention that the social media posts can be added to the official record.

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