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Eli Lilly sued for $14.7M by Church of Scientology

Title: Eli Lilly sued for $14.7M by Church of Scientology
Date: Tuesday, 5 May 1992
Publisher: Reporter Dispatch (White Plains, New York)
Main source: link (49 KiB)

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LOS ANGELES — The Church of Scientology International sued Eli Lilly & Co. for $14.7 million, alleging the pharmaceutical maker pressured a public relations firm to drop the church as a client.

The church and Eli Lilly have long been at odds over the drug maker's sale of Prozac. The scientologists say the antidepressant can be harmful, even fatal.

The suit, filed Friday in federal court, names as defendants Lilly, the British advertising conglomerate WPP Group, its chief executive officer, Martin Sorrell and WPP's New York and Washington-based public relations subsidiary, Hill & Knowlton Inc.

It alleges the defendants violated the church's civil and contractual rights by pressuring Sorrell and Hill & Knowlton to drop the church as a client. Two law firms representing the church were also pressured to cut their relationships with the church, the suit says.

Of the $14.7 million, $10 million is sought for punitive damages, said the Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the church.

"Suing or threatening to sue is one of Scientology's most frequently used methods of intimidation," said Marie Abbot, a spokeswoman for Lilly.