The number of companies that can bring treble-damages claims against drug manufacturers for violating federal antitrust law has dwindled. The scarcity has grown so acute that last week it crossed an existential threshold. Continue Reading
U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ruled on August 28, 2017 that a class of 24 to 25 direct purchasers did not satisfy the “numerosity” requirement of Rule 23(a)(1) for class certification. Florence Drug Co. of Florence, Inc. v. Cephalon, Inc., No. 06-c-1797, ECF 1072 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 28, 2017), on remand from In re Modafanil Antitrust Litig., 837 F.3d 238 (3d Cir. 2016).
As yours truly noted about the Third Circuit’s remand of the case in “No Class?“:
If the decision [on class certification] goes the defendants’ way, it will transform litigation of price-fixing claims against pharmaceutical makers. No longer will wholesalers have the ability to benefit from class settlements as passive class members. (AmerisourceBergen, for example, reported that it received more than $250 million from “antitrust settlements” since 2014.) The wholesalers must either forego recoupment of billions of dollars in overcharges or bring claims against their suppliers.
That stark choice now faces direct purchasers.
Listen up, direct purchasers of pharmaceuticals.
Since 2013, pay-for-delay antitrust cases against Big Pharma could succeed if they alleged that a brand-name drug company had made “large and unjustified” payments for a competitor to postpone bringing a generic substitute to market. FTC v. Actavis, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2223, 2237 (2013). But how “large” and how “unjustified” does Actavis require the payments to be?
A new decision by the Third Circuit provides a plaintiff-friendly answer, one that allows claimants in many cases to move beyond the pleading stage into discovery and potentially trial on the merits. Continue Reading
If you’ve ever felt that Uber costs more than it should, you can forget about fixing that in court. Under a new ruling by the Second Circuit, no matter how good your claim and regardless of how much money it involves, Uber can beat you every time.
Every. Single. Time.
You will recall that two years ago Volkswagen got in $14.7 billion worth of class action trouble for rigging software in its diesel cars to fake compliance with U.S. emission standards. The
We now learn that Volkswagen didn’t act alone. Continue Reading
The question of who belongs in a class action deserves a lot of think about it time. A good class definition may save class plaintiffs lots of trouble in winning certification of the class — a do-or-die event in the life of the class action.
For more than 40 years, you could wait (and wait and wait) to decide whether or not to opt out of a class action in order to pursue your own individual case. You didn’t have to squawk until (1) you got formal notice of your right to remove yourself from the class and (b) you failed to timely respond by saying “I opt out. Leave me alone. I would rather do it myself! More money for me!!”
But the thing that gave you leisure — American Pipe tolling — went partially poof last week. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (with Gorsuch in the role of Scalia) that tolling may apply to a statute of “limitations” but doesn’t stop the tick-tock under a statute of “repose”. California Public Employees’ Retirement Sys. v. ANZ Securities, Inc., No. 16-373 (U.S. June 26, 2017).
Wake up, people! You may need to move fast.
The place of suit matters a lot in civil cases. Suing at home helps the plaintiff — by keeping her costs low, giving her comfort that local judges and juries will give her fair treatment, and throwing out-of-town defendants off balance. All of that bigly boosts the plaintiff’s chances of success.
But a trio of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings promise to make plaintiffs’ home fields more like patches of weeds than acres of sweet verdance. Continue Reading
In the last quarter-century and more, no current member of the Supreme Court tried a lawsuit of any kind to a judge or jury. Almost none of the justices has ever tried a civil case to verdict. And before their honors became appellate judges, only one of their number served as a full-time trial judge.
Does the justices’ nearly total lack of trial-lawyer chops matter? Has the almost utter absence of actual trial experience in fact degraded the quality of civil justice? And will confirming the nomination of a former trial lawyer like Neil Gorsuch make a difference?
Class actions can save courts and parties a lot of time and money. But what if the class includes just a few members? How much time and money will the class action device save then?
The Third Circuit grappled with that “numerosity” question in In re Modafinil Antitrust Litig., 837 F.3d 238 (3d Cir. 2016).
The answer it gave — that a class with 20+/- mostly big members may not pass the test — could reshape how courts handle antitrust cases worth billions of dollars.