An Illinois state appellate panel said that a woman was correctly denied a chance to amend her complaint seeking to hold a hormone therapy company liable after she developed and was treated for cancer allegedly caused by hormone-infused pellets.

The panel said although at least one claim in plaintiffs Irene Lyons and Jacoby Radford’s proposed amendment would have cured defects in their initial complaint against physician Marsha Gorens, The SottoPelle Group LLC and several affiliates, they waited too long to change their theory of liability against the company.

Lyons and Radford had initially asserted that SottoPelle was the actual manufacturer and distributor of the hormone pellets that allegedly caused Lyons’ breast cancer, but learned through discovery in 2018 that Tennessee pharmacy Solutions Pharmacy and Colorado-based Belmar Pharmacy were involved in making and selling the products

The plaintiffs sought to pursue amended claims that SottoPelle was liable for Lyons’ injuries because the company held itself out as the hormone pellets’ apparent manufacturer and played an integral role in the overall production and marketing. They argued they couldn’t have asked to amend their suit any sooner because their new theories were based on evidence of a marketing relationship between SottoPelle and Solutions that they’d received a day after SottoPelle asked for summary judgment.

But Lyons and Radford’s response to the company’s summary judgment bid belies that contention since it discusses an apparent manufacturer theory of liability that didn’t rely on their newly acquired evidence.

Lyons and Radford launched their suit in 2017 asserting negligence and strict liability claims against SottoPelle for allegedly failing to warn them about the risks, side effects and complications involved with the hormone pellets at issue. They claimed the company “was and is engaged” in manufacturing and selling the products, and that the company’s pellets had been implanted in her body three times between 2014 and 2015.

A general surgeon recommended that the pellets be removed from Lyons’ body in July 2015 because of an increased risk in cancer growth, but Gorens told her they couldn’t be removed. Lyons eventually developed and was treated for breast cancer. The suit claimed SottoPelle should have known the pellets were unreasonably dangerous when they left its control.


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