Monday, October 13, 2008

Not PF-related, but you should know that...

New just broke on Friday that Johnson and Johnson has quietly been settling Ortho Evra lawsuits, which is a big deal that I sadly see is getting almost NO coverage in the mainstream media (aside from Bloomberg News, and let's face it, how many out there watch or read Bloomberg?).

I actually found out about this news nugget from Love, who forwarded me the news from Litigation Daily, a legal blog he frequents. I thought it was important to pass along, either because you may own stock in the company, or you/someone you know may be using Ortho Evra:

Bloomberg reported on Friday that J&J has paid $68.7 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits related to its Ortho Evra birth-control patch -- yet never felt the need to disclose those payments to investors. A J&J spokesperson declined to comment to Bloomberg on the decision not to disclose the payments. [The Litigation Daily] wonders what J&J shareholders (and the securities class action bar) will have to say.

According to Bloomberg, more than 4,000 complaints have been filed in federal and state courts by plaintiffs claiming they've suffered blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes as a result of the high levels of estrogen released by the birth-control patch. All settlements so far are confidential, but Bloomberg was able to estimate their amount based on the size of the common benefit fund in a 1,300-case Ortho Evra MDL before Toledo federal district court judge David Katz. Three percent of participants' settlements go into the fund, which offers financial assistance to lawyers pursuing cases against J&J. According to a filing by Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine partner Janet Abaray, who is a lead plaintiffs counsel in the MDL, the fund had $2.06 million at the end of March.

Brian Baxter at the Am Law Daily did a little digging to find out who's defending J&J in the Ortho Evra litigation. In the Ohio MDL, it's Drinker Biddle & Reath and Tucker Ellis & West. In individual cases, J&J has also tapped lawyers at Bryan Cave, Dechert, Sidley Austin, and Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. [Bloomberg]

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