Goodwin

CHARLESTON – U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin has granted 15 more days for lawyers to settle a feud over fees in national litigation against drug maker Actavis Totowa and distributor Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

Goodwin had declared on May 5 that he would settle it on June 5 if they didn't, but he changed his mind on May 31.

"For reasons appearing to the court, the matter will now be held in abeyance until June 20," he wrote.

Last year, Actavis and Mylan agreed to pay $10 million to settle about 3,200 claims that heart medicine Digitek caused injuries.

This year, a plaintiff steering committee petitioned for Actavis and Mylan to pay more than $6 million in fees and expenses.

Actavis and Mylan urged Goodwin to award nothing or an extremely small amount.

His May 5 order found the committee deserved "a significant award," but prescribed "a very substantial reduction" from their request.

He wrote, "Even a cursory review casts doubt on the accuracy and legitimacy of a sizable portion of the fee requests."

He wrote, "While this settlement may strike others as having mere nuisance value, I think otherwise."

He wrote, "At the same time, the result achieved does not strike me, at this point, as the type of blockbuster award that the PSC doubtless hoped for at the outset of the litigation."

He gave both sides a month to reach agreement, but they couldn't wrap it up.

Litigation started in 2008, after Actavis recalled a batch of Digitek due to fears that a plant in New Jersey produced pills of double thickness.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation consolidated cases from around the nation and assigned them to Goodwin.

He picked Fred Thompson, of Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Harry Bell of Charleston, and Carl Frankovitch of Weirton as lead counsel.

Richard Dean of Cleveland leads the defense team.

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