COLUMBIA, S.C., June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- South Carolina's Fifth Circuit Court has ruled that State Attorney General Alan Wilson may employ private attorneys from outside the AG's office to assist in prosecuting cases under the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The ruling by Judge G. Thomas Cooper, Jr., granted the state's motion for summary judgment against Cephalon, a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Cephalon claimed that contingency fee arrangements with outside counsel violated the company's rights to due process under the U.S. and South Carolina constitutions, violated separation of powers and amounted to imposition of criminal penalties.
"Judge Cooper issued a well-thought out, well-reasoned decision dealing with all the defense contentions. Now that it has been dealt with, we can continue to pursue justice for the taxpayers of South Carolina, who have paid out tens of millions to Cephalon based on false information," said Gerald Jowers, of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, an outside law firm retained by the state.
"This is good news for state attorneys general across the country trying to recover illegally obtained profits from big pharmaceutical companies," said Ken Suggs, JJ&S partner who heads the firm's South Carolina office. "Many are, in these austere times, operating with budgets and manpower that make this kind of complex litigation difficult without outside firms to help."
Wilson filed suit against Cephalon on behalf of the state on June 2, 2011 alleging the companies unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of the State Health Plan by promoting drugs for unapproved uses. The suit further alleges the action cost the state millions of dollars in payments for medically unnecessary prescriptions. In 2008, Cephalon paid $425 million to settle a similar off-label marketing case brought by the federal government.
In February, the court rejected Cephalon's motion for summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds.
The case is State of South Carolina ex rel. Wilson v. Cephalon Inc., case number 2011-cp-40-3661. Judge Cooper's ruling is dated June 2, 2014.
Janet, Jenner & Suggs is a national firm noted for its expertise in pharmaceutical and medical devices cases, mass torts, birth injury and cerebral palsy cases, as well as commercial and environmental litigation. The firm has offices in Maryland, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
CONTACT: Teresa Kelly
For Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC
SOURCE Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC