Saturday, March 7, 2015

Breaking Bad Disqualification News


We first covered this story last September, involving efforts to disqualify a law firm working on behalf of the City of Chicago. It appears that coming out of the December denial of the attempt to disqualify the firm, the defendant drug companies have tried a different tack: "Judge won’t disqualify private lawyers representing Chicago in opioid lawsuit" --
  • "A federal judge on Monday denied a request for relief from a group of pharmaceutical companies being sued by the City of Chicago over the marketing of opioid painkillers."
  • "In the lawsuit that was later removed from state court to Chicago’s federal court, the City accused the companies of overstating the benefits of their drugs in a way that increased addiction and the city’s prescription and healthcare-related costs."
  • "The companies in September filed a joint motion, asking a judge to invalidate the contract between the City and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll – the law firm the City hired in 2013 to investigate and litigate the opioid matter – and issue an injunction barring the City from using the firm in this or any similar suit."
  • "They claimed they were entitled to this relief because the City improperly delegated governmental police power to a financially interested private party, with the police power being investigative subpoena power and the private party being Cohen Milstein."
  • "Further, the drug companies argued, the firm’s involvement violates city ethics rules and its financial interest in the outcome of the case creates a conflict of interest that violates their due process rights."
  • "In denying the motion, U.S. District Judge Jorge L. Alonso rejected those arguments and their latest attempt to get Cohen Milstein – a firm with 80 attorneys and offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Florida that is representing two California counties in similar litigation– booted from the case."

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