La. AG's antitrust suit against Pfizer relying on private attorneys, campaign donors

By Kyle Barnett | Jun 16, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (Legal Newsline) – The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has again hired a list of political allies for help with an antitrust lawsuit brought against Pfizer which mirrors similar actions taken against several other pharmaceutical companies.

Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell initially filed the lawsuit against Pfizer on behalf of the State of Louisiana in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish on April 10. The case was remanded to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana on May 22.

In the suit Caldwell claims Pfizer blocked efforts to introduce a generic version of the drug Neurontin from coming to market by filing “sham patent litigation.” The effort is just the latest in a series by Caldwell accusing pharmaceutical companies of antitrust practices meant to preserve monopolies over the production of certain medications which caused the state to pay inflated prices for the medication over an extended period of time.

The action closely resembles a recently filed antitrust lawsuit against pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

In line with his past efforts Caldwell has continued the controversial practice of providing private attorneys and law firms, some who have close political ties to his past elections campaigns, with no-bid contracts to share in the proceeds of any damage awards the litigation may yield.

Caldwell has appointed the following 12 private attorneys to represent the state in their antitrust lawsuit against Pfizer:

- Alejandro R. Perkins; Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice of Baton Rouge
- Allan Kanner; Kanner & Whiteley LLC of New Orleans
- Barrett Black; Beasley Salim-Beasley of Natchitoches
- Conlee S. Whiteley; Kanner & Whiteley LLC of New Orleans
- Edmond Wade Shows; Shows, Cali, Berthelot & Walsh LLP of Baton Rouge
- James P. Ryan; Morrow, Morrow, Ryan & Bassett of Opelousas
- Jimmy Roy Faircloth Jr.; Faircloth, Melton & Keiser of Alexandria
- John Randolph Davis; Kanner & Whiteley LLC of New Orleans
- John Alden Meade; Meade Law LLC of New Orleans
- Patrick Craig Morrow; Morrow, Morrow, Ryan & Bassett of Opelousas
- Robert Lyle Salim; Beasley Salim-Beasley of Natchitoches
- Thomas Allen Usry; Usry, Weeks & Matthews of New Orleans

Of the private attorneys appointed to serve on behalf of the state, campaign records reveal at least five have provided donations or other assistance to Caldwell’s past election efforts.

Most notably, E. Wade Shows, of Shows, Cali & Walsh, has previously served as Caldwell’s campaign manager and T. Allen Usry, of Usry, Weeks & Mathews, has previously served as Caldwell’s campaign treasurer.

Campaign finance records on www.followthemoney.org show Caldwell received a combined $12,650 provided by Jimmy Faircloth and his relatives and associates; $10,000 in campaign finances from Usry; $6,000 in donations from Robert L. Salim, of Natchitoches-based Salim-Beasley, $5,000 from James P. Ryan, of Opelousas-based Morrow, Morrow, Ryan & Bassett and $200 from Alejandro Perkins of Baton Rouge-based Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice.

While New Orleans-based law firm Kanner & Whiteley have not provided campaign support to Caldwell, it has benefitted greatly from past contracts with the AG’s office, including capturing  $12.1 million in legal fees for work on behalf of the state in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case.

Another notable appointment is Faircloth who has deep ties in Baton Rouge political circles. Faircloth formerly served as executive counsel to Gov. Bobby Jindal and since resigning from the position has put together an impressive list of clients including the State of Louisiana through contracts provided to him by Caldwell. Over the past three years Faircloth has also received $1,309,881 through the Deepwater Horizon contract his law firm Faircloth, Melton & Keiser has with Caldwell’s office.

Caldwell did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

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