Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices

Class Actions

Class actions are a common feature of product liability litigation involving prescription drugs and devices. Pepper Hamilton is a leader in defending such actions. Many of the class actions are brought by third-party payors attempting to get a refund for the cost of the drug. We have defeated certification and won summary judgment with our arguments in these cases. See e.g. UFCW Local 1776 & Participating Employers Health & Welfare Fund v. Eli Lilly and Co., 620 F. 3d 121 (2d Cir. 2010) (holding class could not be certified and Lilly entitled to summary judgment). We have also defeated consumer class actions seeking damages for economic loss. See e.g. Dumpson v. SmithKline Beecham Corp d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, No. 10-2476, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96776 (E.D. Pa. July 10, 2013) (dismissing case brought under California law); Schrank v. SmithKline Beecham Corp d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, No. 07-4965, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96768 (E.D. Pa. July 10, 2013) (dismissing case brought under New York law).

Significant product liability litigation triggers securities class actions, and we have won dismissals of such actions. Avon Pension Fund v. GlaxoSmithKline PLC, 343 Fed. Appx. 671 (2d Cir. 2009)(affirming dismissal of securities class action); In re Zyprexa Prods. Liab. Litig., 549 F. Supp. 2d 496 (E.D.N.Y. 2008)(granting summary judgment in securities class action).

When plaintiffs sought certification of personal injury and medical monitoring classes, we successfully resisted certification. See e.g. Fisher v. Bristol Myers Squibb, 181 F.R.D. 365 (N.D. Ill. 1998); Dhamer v. Bristol Myers Squibb, 183 F.R.D. 520 (N.D. Ill. 1998); In Re: Orthopedic Bone Screw Prods Liab. Litig., 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22042 (E.D. Pa. 1995).

We have also briefed and argued many other class action issues. See e.g. Mulligan Law Firm v. Zyprexa MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Comm. II, 594 F.3d 113, 115 (2d Cir. 2010) (denial of mandamus to consider challenge to limitations on plaintiffs’ counsel fees); Hood v. Eli Lilly & Co., 671 F. Supp. 2d 397 (E.D. N.Y. 2009)(dismissing Mississippi’s claims in “quasi class action”); United Health Group v GlaxoSmithKline, Dec. Term 2010, No. 2871 (class action by insurers seeking information about settling claimants); In re Human Tissue Prods. Liab. Litig., 488 F. Supp. 2d 430 (D.N.J. 2007)(denying motion to require defendants to notify class members of litigation).


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