The trial had been dragging on for almost two years, when Grünenthal offered to settle and pay the sum of 100 million D-Mark (about $30 million CDN at the time) – but only under the condition that any further legal action against the company or the defendants was banned.
Up to that point the Thalidomide families hadn’t received any compensation. With the 100 million on the table, the judge terminated the proceedings early in December 1970. He concluded with a decision of “minor guilt”. The Grünenthal executives were not convicted.
The hearings ended before the court had looked at all the evidence. Many of the documents, the witness statements and the expert reports, collected by the prosecution prior to the trial, were never discussed during the proceedings.
Legally it was never determined if Grünenthal could have foreseen the teratogenic effects of Thalidomide.
The court itself said that, had the trial continued, “it is possible that further taking of evidence would confirm the predictability of malformations”.