Hon. Judge Julie O'Kane declared a mistrial in Torrence v. Pfizer, after the defense showed the jury prejudicial evidence that had not been admitted.
Plaintiff attorney Donald Farber opened the trial by asking the jury, "What caused Gary Torrence to kill himself on May 24, 2005?" Mr. Farber described Mr. Torrence as a practical joker, a very strong family man with traditional values, and with a strong family support system. Mr. Torrence was a highly successful hotel general manager for the Orlando Embassy Suites, who had just been transferred by Hilton to a prestigious new hotel in Washington DC.
Plaintiff attorney Donald Farber had promised to prove that Gary Torrence's suicide death was the result of medical negligence by Mr. Torrence's primary care physician and the physician assistant.
"The anti-depressant that drove Gary Torrence out of his mind was Zoloft," a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), said Mr. Farber. The defendants allegedly failed to warn of the risk of suicide, and failed to monitor Mr. Torrence's use of the drug.
For the defense, Rissman Barrett Hurt's Vance Dawson told the jury that neither depression nor suicide were rare in the United States, and that Mr. Torrence committed suicide because he was experiencing stress, insomnia, and depression.