CHARLESTON – Lawyers who sued drug maker Actavis and distributor Mylan tell U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin they deserve $6 million for achieving a great settlement, but Actavis lawyer Matthew Moriarty of Cleveland wonders why they don't tell the world.
"The plaintiff steering committee did not trumpet this settlement to any major news organizations, and word of it barely leaked out," Moriarty wrote in an affidavit for Goodwin on March 25.
Moriarty found the absence of publicity "inconsistent with plaintiffs' lawyers who believe their result to be great, or even good."
The plaintiff committee settled about 3,200 federal suits over heart medicine Digitek for $10 million last year, securing another $3 million for claims in state courts.
This year, the committee petitioned Goodwin to award about $4.7 million in fees against Actavis and Mylan, plus reimbursement of about $1.4 million in expenses.
For Actavis, Richard Dean of Cleveland asked Goodwin to deny the petition or award an amount as nominal as the settlement.
On March 15, Dean submitted an affidavit from Moriarty and moved to seal it.
Goodwin denied the motion, ruling the public should know the reasons for his decision.
He ruled he would place the affidavit in the record on March 25, unless Moriarty rewrote it.
"The plaintiffs' settlement position early on was based on our client's remaining insurance limits, at the outset $100 million," he wrote.
He wrote that the committee demanded about $10 million in fees and expenses and more than $50 million in indemnity two weeks before depositions of their experts.
Depositions did not go well for plaintiffs, he wrote.
"The negotiations over money took only one to two days," he wrote. "In my opinion, this is not a great result for plaintiffs."
Average resolution was about $3,100, he wrote, "a very small amount for personal injury or wrongful death cases in pharmaceutical product liability cases."