Three states have Sept. date for Zyprexa arguments

By John O'Brien | Aug 19, 2009


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Three state attorneys general who still have Zyprexa lawsuits against Eli Lilly & Co. will have their attorneys in Brooklyn federal court next month to argue their cases and possibly talk settlement.

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein, of the Eastern District of New York, has requested those representing Mississippi's Jim Hood, Idaho's Lawrence Wasden and Louisiana's Buddy Caldwell be present Sept. 21 for arguments on three motions.

Lilly has filed for summary judgment in the Louisiana case, and pre-summary judgment conference will be held in the Mississippi and Idaho cases. Firms representing Mississippi and Louisiana have donated to the campaigns of the attorneys general in those states.

"The parties shall to be present in court with authority to discuss settlement and to proceed with all preliminary matters related to motions to dismiss or for summary judgment and the status of discovery," Weinstein wrote Aug. 12.

Weinstein has long been pushing for a settlement in the cases of states that did not participate in a 32-state settlement, plus the District of Columbia, worth $62 million. Lilly also settled federal off-label marketing claims for $1.4 billion.

The payment also benefited the Medicaid programs of more than 30 states that collectively received approximately $362 million.

The 12 states with claims that did not participate in the $62 million are asking for more than $1 billion, court records show. They argue Zyprexa, an antipsychotic, caused weight gain-related issues, like diabetes and hypertension that harmed their Medicaid programs.

West Virginia recently settled its claim, though the terms are under seal.

Weinstein is presiding over the cases of Idaho, Mississippi, Louisiana, Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana and New Mexico. States that have claims in state courts are Utah, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Mississippi is being represented by:

-Bailey Perrin Bailey of Houston, which has donated $75,000 Hood.

-W. Howard Gunn and Associates of Aberdeen, Miss., which donated $2,500 to Hood before the 2007 election; and

-William Quin of The Quin Firm in Jackson, Miss., who donated $3,000 to Hood while employed at Lundy & Davis in 2005.

Louisiana is being represented by:

-Morrow, Morrow, Ryan & Bassett of Opelousas, La., which donated $7,500 to Charles Foti from 2003-07, when he lost his bid for re-election, then donated $5,000 to Caldwell;

-Kenneth DeJean of Lafayette, La., who donated $5,500 to Foti before giving $1,000 to Caldwell; and

-Robert Salim of Natchitoches, La., who donated $1,000 to Caldwell.

The firm representing Idaho has never donated to Wasden, though it did raise a few eyebrows when it was awarded the contract to represent Utah in its case.

Siegfried & Jensen donated $35,000 to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and hired his daughter to work as a paralegal on Zyprexa and Vioxx cases.

"We're competent to do it. We're doing it in a way that's scientific, and that's rational," attorney Joseph Steele said, according to a Salt Lake City Weekly report.

"Frankly, we are the only ones that have managed to get the job done."

Shurtleff's daughter only worked for the firm for less than a year, quitting to give birth and spend time with her child, the report adds.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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