Plaintiffs' attorneys from Milberg LLP "are appealing a decision by a Massachusetts federal judge to dismiss a False Claims Act lawsuit" against Forest Laboratories as reported by Forbes: "Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV dismissed the case on April 28, ruling attorneys at Milberg LLP who represented a whistleblower participated in 'an elaborate series of falsehoods, misrepresentation, and deceptive conduct.'"
Judge Saylor found that Milberg LLP "devised and implemented an elaborate scheme of misrepresentation and deceit under the guise of a legitimate medical research study" in order "to elicit confidential patient information from doctors about their practices prescribing Forest's Alzheimer's disease drug Namenda" for the firm's use in filing a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company as reported by Reuters.
Professor Nancy J. Moore, a professor of legal ethics at Boston University, said "I have no knowledge whether any disciplinary actions are being undertaken against the attorneys, but I strongly believe they should be" because "Judge Saylor's findings of fact clearly indicate serious violations of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct."
In addition to getting Milberg's lawsuit against it dismissed, Forest Laboratories has "urged the court to further punish the firm for its deception" by requiring the trial lawyers to reimburse the drugmaker for "more than $6 million in attorneys' fees" incurred over three years in defending the now-dismissed lawsuit as reported by Law360:
"Compared to other cases in which fees and costs have been awarded, Milberg's conduct stands out as a shocking example of a deliberate and extensive scheme to deceive, manufacture evidence and misappropriate and publicly expose sensitive medical information," the motion states. "As such, the requested relief is fully warranted under applicable precedent and, indeed, is critical to sending a sufficiently robust message of deterrence that will safeguard physicians and patients, protect defendants from substantial litigation costs and reputational damage caused by similarly vexatious FCA claims and make Forest whole as the injured party."
This is not the first time that Milberg has been held to task over its sharp practices. A few years ago an earlier incarnation of the Milberg firm was indicted for its alleged role in a decades-long conspiracy pursuant to which serial plaintiffs were paid kickbacks from court-approved attorneys' fees in their cases. Mel Weiss and Bill Lerach were sent to prison on racketeering convictions, and the firm avoided further prosecution after paying a $75 million fine and employing a compliance monitor for two years.
Further reading that may be of interest: