The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finished fiscal year 2021 with record breaking rewards, paying a combined $564 million. The SEC also reached a new high for total whistleblower award recipients at 108 individuals.
The SEC whistleblower reward program is a program authorized by Congress to reward individuals who bring forward information about security fraud or other wrongdoing resulting in SEC sanctions and recoveries. After the SEC secures a sanction or verdict, whistleblowers can receive a portion of the sanction. This program is intended to entice those with knowledge of wrongdoing to step forward and reveal information to government agencies.
Residents of assisted living facilities operated by Aegis Senior Communities LLC (Aegis) will share in a settlement fund of $16.25 million awarded as part of a class action settlement approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on August 23, 2021.
On October 27, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed an antitrust lawsuit brought against Janssen by a class of indirect purchasers of the drug Zytiga, Janssen’s blockbuster prostate cancer drug. Because the plaintiffs were indirect purchasers of Zytiga, the court found that their federal Sherman Act antitrust claims must be dismissed under the direct purchaser requirement established by Illinois Brick v. Illinois.
On October 19, 2021, United HealthCare Services, Inc. filed a direct action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota alleging an anticompetitive conspiracy to monopolize the market for combination antiretroviral therapy (“cART”) drugs used to treat HIV infection. The complaint echoes the allegations made in class action complaints and retail pharmacy complaints pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
On October 13, 2021, Allergan announced a $30 million preliminary settlement with a certified class of end payors of Allergan’s dry-eye drug Restasis. Approximately 18 months ago, Allergan had settled four direct purchaser actions for a total of $51 million.
On September 22, 2021 U.S. District Judge William Alsup preliminarily approved settlements with Bausch Health Cos. Inc., Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Assertio Therapeutics Inc. worth $454 million.
On September 22, 2021, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreen, Kroger, Albertsons, and H.E.B. filed direct purchaser actions alleging an anticompetitive conspiracy to monopolize the market for combination antiretroviral therapy (“cART”) drugs used to treat HIV infection in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
On September 9, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts mostly denied a motion to dismiss a DOJ action alleging that Teva willfully violated the Anti-Kickback statute through copayment assistance donations that ended up exclusively subsidizing prescriptions for its multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone. The court found that the government had alleged in sufficient detail a scheme by which Teva practically guaranteed that its own donations would result in the submission of Medicare claims for Copaxone.
Lawsuit Alleging Manipulation of Crypto Markets Through Unbacked Stablecoin “Tether” Survives Motion to Dismiss
A class of cryptocommodities purchasers represented by Selendy & Gay PLLC, Roche Freedman LLP, and Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP will be allowed to proceed with a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to manipulate the crypto markets, following a decision on the defendants’ motion to dismiss issued on September 28, 2021.
On August 4, 2021, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling that a Schneider Wallace represented gas station employee was not subject to forced arbitration, and that the employee can pursue a wage-and-hour class action in court. The three-judge panel held unanimously that the Schneider Wallace case can proceed despite the fact that Defendant claimed that it was subject to mandatory arbitration, because the court found that the language in the Newcomb Oil Co LLC’s employee handbook was not enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.