The pill took my gas money

By The West Virginia Record | Jun 25, 2010

"I think the defendant should reimburse me for the pepperoni pizza I ordered and the pay-per-view movie I watched last night."

"I saw these cool lavender suede pumps at the mall and just have to have them. Can I make a claim for those? Of course, I'll need a matching purse."

"I'd like to add on a sunroom. Can I throw that in?"

The claims made by plaintiffs in a proposed class action suit over economic damages from heart medicine Digitek were not that ridiculous, but even plaintiff's attorney Fred Thompson of Motley Rice referred to some of the claims as "ludicrous," citing the following examples: "gas money, eyeglasses, trip insurance, or even enemas."

What do any of these things have to do with heart medicine? Next to nothing. But if you're suing a deep-pocketed pharmaceutical company, why not go for it, seems to be the guiding logic in this case.

Well, some plaintiffs went for it, but the judge didn't.

Two years ago, drug maker Actavis Totowa discovered 20 Digitek pills of double thickness at its plant in Little Falls, N.J., and recalled the batch. Although no Digitek user ever produced a double-thick pill, the recall spurred litigation.

On May 25 of this year, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin denied certification of a class action against Actavis Totowa and distributor Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Two weeks later, Motley Rice's Fred Thompson asked Goodwin to reconsider his order, arguing that the judge was unduly influenced by the "ludicrous" claims.

Lamenting that Goodwin "seized upon a few outrageous damages requests," the plaintiffs attorney insisted that "the court misunderstood the types of economic damages for which plaintiffs seek to recover on behalf of themselves and class members."

There's nothing wrong with the reasoning of a judge who rejects ludicrous claims. It's laudable. As to the reasoning of an attorney who makes what seems to be a ludicrous defense of ludicrous claims, we have reason to wonder.

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