When Peter Gordon, Michael Magazanik and their legal team took on Lynette Rowe’s case 40 years later in Australia, they looked closely at the German trial documents, especially at the ones that had never made it to court back in Germany. Rowe sued Grünenthal and Diageo, the legacy owner of Distillers and distributor of Thalidomide in Australia. Grünenthal fought to have the case heard in Germany, but the application was dismissed by an Australian court. In the end Diageo agreed to pay a multi-million dollar sum not only to Lynette but also to about 100 other Thalidomide survivors in Australia and New Zealand. Grünenthal did not contribute to this settlement.
“This was an application by the company that made Thalidomide, the worst drug in the history of medicine, to have an armless, legless woman who has no money and doesn’t speak German, if she wishes to have her day in court, have to move to Germany for the next five years.”
~ Peter Gordon, Lawyer
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“So we had Diageo and Grünenthal as our defendants. Grünenthal had this never give in, never admit a thing, never concede, fight to the bitter end attitude. Distillers or Diageo took a much more compassionate, sensible, we’d say, approach, which was, once convinced of the strength of the claim, they settled the claim. Grünenthal didn’t pay a cent.
~ Michael Magazanik, Lawyer & Journalist
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