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Friday May 14, 2004
The Florida Supreme Court will publicly reprimand a Broward County judge for making several comments to a newspaper about a company that was involved in a product liability lawsuit before him.
The Supreme Court approved a recommendation from the Judicial Qualifications Commission, that Circuit Judge Robert Lance Andrews be reprimanded for his remarks to the Miami Daily Business Review about the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis in September 2002.
Andrews admitted making the comments and didn't contest the findings of an investigative panel that looked into the case.
The remarks were made in reference to a request for documents by the plaintiff in a case against Novartis that led the drug maker to produce over a million documents.
Judge Andrews was quoted in the newspaper as saying that Novartis was "trying to bury the plaintiffs in documents," and also said the defense strategy in the case backfired.
He also said that Novartis had only itself to blame for certain developments in the case and talked about the case's implications for it to be a model for a national suit against Novartis over the drug Parlodel, which is used for a variety of ailments, including female infertility and Parkinson's disease.
Florida judicial rules prohibit judges from making public comments about pending cases that could affect its outcome or raise questions about whether they would handle the case fairly.