BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Justice Department announced today that Johnson & Johnson will pay $1.273 billion to the federal government and most states to settle a civil False Claims Act investigation into its off-label marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. J&J will settle a criminal investigation into the matter for an additional $800 million.
Two of the plaintiffs who blew the whistle on J&J are represented by a Hodgson Russ team led by Daniel C. Oliverio. Other team members were Joseph V. Sedita and Robert J. Fluskey, Jr.
After the local case against J&J was filed in Western New York in 2004 for its off-label marketing of Risperdal, the federal government consolidated this case in Philadelphia with four other similar cases related to Ripserdal marketing. In False Claims Act cases like this one, whistleblowers are entitled to a share of the proceeds; the two whistleblowers represented by Hodgson Russ will share in 15 percent of the settlement awards.
Mr. Oliverio said, "The attorneys at Hodgson Russ have been proud to represent these two courageous whistleblowers and to be part of this landmark False Claims Act case. As one of only a few major law firms to represent both selected whistleblowers as well as selected companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing, we feel we were exceptionally well positioned to represent our remarkable clients in this case."
Mr. Oliverio continued, "This settlement, which is the largest FCA relator share settlement in history, follows on the heels of another whistleblower suit, in which we served as lead counsel, that resulted in the largest FCA settlement in Western New York history. I am incredibly proud of the work our team is doing to support these whistleblowers as they go up against powerful corporations that choose to defraud the government—and the taxpayers."
In addition to serving as the chairman of Hodgson Russ, Mr. Oliverio also leads the firm's False Claims Act and Business Crimes, Regulatory Offenses & Corporate Investigations Practice Groups.
Risperdal, once J&J's best-selling drug, was approved by the FDA in 1993 for psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. According to documents filed with the court, the company also sought to sell Risperdal for unapproved used that included bi-polar disorder, dementia, and mood and anxiety disorders, among others.
Hodgson Russ attorneys facilitate the U.S. legal aspects of transactions around the world. We practice in every major area of law and use multidisciplinary work teams to serve the specific, often complex, needs of our clients, which include public and privately held businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit institutions, and individuals. Hodgson Russ has offices in Buffalo, New York City, Albany, and Saratoga Springs, New York; Toronto, Ontario; and Palm Beach, Florida.
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SOURCE Hodgson Russ