Harris drug claim trial set for March

By Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Survivor Mark Taylor's lawsuit, which claims that the antidepressant Luvox triggered Eric Harris' shooting rampage at Columbine High School, will go to trial in March, a federal judge said Tuesday.

Taylor, 19, has sued Solvay Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Luvox, claiming the drug made Harris manic and psychotic, and caused him to become violent and suicidal.

Taylor was shot more than seven times in the leg, arm, chest and abdomen as he was eating lunch on the lawn outside the school. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives in the nation's deadliest school shooting on April 20, 1999.

Solvay lawyer Mark Kennedy said last week that Luvox doesn't make people suicidal or violent and had nothing to do with the Columbine tragedy.


Kennedy and co-counsel Amy Padden were prepared Tuesday to ask U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer to block Taylor's two experts from testifying and to throw the case out.

But Brimmer, a federal judge from Wyoming assigned to hear the Taylor case in Denver, said he would let the case proceed and let the two Taylor experts, Dr. Donald Marks and Dr. Peter Breggin, go ahead with trial preparations.

Brimmer said the two experts must file final reports by Oct. 22, and the doctors' depositions will be taken Oct. 28 and 29 in Denver.

Taylor claims Solvay failed to adequately warn either Harris' psychologist or his doctor about the "risks and dangers" of prescribing the drug.

Taylor and his mother, Donna, believe a family of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), cause some people to become violent and suicidal. Among the SSRI antidepressants are Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.

Breggin and Marks have studied SSRI antidepressants extensively for several years.

In a preliminary report filed in U.S. District Court, Breggin said he believes Luvox triggered the rampage by Harris.

"Absent persistent exposure to Luvox, Eric Harris would probably not have committed violence and suicide," Breggin said.

In his preliminary report, Marks said he believed Solvay acted unreasonably by marketing Luvox without prominent and adequate warnings about "risks of akathisia (inner restlessness), suicide and homicide."

The companies that manufacture the antidepressants - Eli Lilly, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline - deny that the antidepressants cause those reactions.