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Schulman Bhattacharya’s Bio-Tech Litigation Practice Secures Another Victory in Federal Court

Jan 27

Schulman Bhattacharya’s bio-tech litigation practice, which helped clients win more than $91 million dollars in trial verdicts over the past three years, has secured another significant victory.  This time, Schulman Bhattacharya represented a defendant, renowned pharmaceutical executive Gregg Lapointe, in a case filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.  The plaintiff in Washington County Board of Education v. Mallinckrodt Ard Inc., et al., sought to buttress its case by adding Mr. Lapointe as a defendant, alleging in its 101-page complaint that the former board member was liable on claims arising out of the escalating pricing of the drug Acthar. However, the Schulman Bhattacharya team argued that Mr. Lapointe was “fraudulently joined” to the litigation and thus should be dismissed prior to the case proceeding in federal court.  In a written opinion (linked here), Judge James K. Bredar agreed with our position.  Judge Bredar noted that “the party alleging fraudulent joinder bears a heavy burden” and that the standard “‘heavily favors’ plaintiffs, who must show only a ‘glimmer of hope’ of succeeding,” but then found, as we had argued, that Mr. Lapointe was indeed fraudulently joined and must be dismissed from the litigation.  Judge Bredar also granted Schulman Bhattacharya’s request that Mr. Lapointe be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiff is not permitted to amend its complaint in order to attempt to keep Mr. Lapointe in the litigation.  In short, Schulman Bhattacharya was able to fully and finally extract Mr. Lapointe from a potentially long, expensive litigation at the earliest possible point, before the litigation really began.  The Schulman Bhattacharya team handling Mr. Lapointe’s litigation was led by partners Jeremy W. Schulman and Jeffrey S. Gavenman and was assisted by associates James “Jake” Schaller and Jessica Bustamante.