Justia Corporate Compliance Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Drugs & Biotech
Lebanon County Employees’ Retirement Fund v. Collis
A case involving Lebanon County Employees' Retirement Fund and Teamsters Local 443 Health Services & Insurance Plan, as plaintiffs-appellants, and Steven H. Collis, Richard W. Gochnauer, Lon R. Greenberg, Jane E. Henney, M.D., Kathleen W. Hyle, Michael J. Long, Henry W. McGee, Ornella Barra, D. Mark Durcan, and Chris Zimmerman, as defendants-appellees, was heard by the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware. The plaintiffs, shareholders in AmerisourceBergen Corporation, brought a derivative complaint against the directors and officers of the Corporation alleging that they failed to adopt, implement, or oversee reasonable policies and practices to prevent the unlawful distribution of opioids. The plaintiffs claimed that this led to AmerisourceBergen incurring liability exceeding $6 billion in a 2021 global settlement related to the Company's role in the opioid epidemic. The Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware initially dismissed the complaint, basing its decision on a separate federal court finding that AmerisourceBergen had complied with its anti-diversion obligations under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware reversed the Court of Chancery's dismissal of the complaint, ruling that the lower court had erred in considering the federal court's findings as it changed the date at which demand futility should be considered and violated the principles of judicial notice. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Lebanon County Employees' Retirement Fund v. Collis" on Justia Law
Westmoreland Cnty. Emps. Retirement Sys. v. Parkinson
Baxter’s Colleague Infusion Pump, an electronic device used to deliver intravenous fluids to patients, was known to have a range of defects. The FDA sent Baxter warning letters. Baxter’s response was not satisfactory. In 2005 the FDA sought forfeiture of all Baxter‐owned Pumps. In 2006, Baxter entered into a Consent Decree to stop manufacturing and distributing all models of the Pump within the U.S., and committed to bringing the approximately 200,000 Pumps in the hands of health care professionals into compliance with the FDA Act. Baxter devoted significant resources to fixing the Pumps, but the FDA was not satisfied and ordered a product recall. In a derivative suit, plaintiffs alleged that that Baxter’s directors and officers breached fiduciary duties by consciously disregarding their responsibility to bring about compliance with the Consent Decree, causing Baxter to lose more than $550 million. Plaintiffs did not first ask Baxter’s board of directors to pursue those claims, but alleged futility. The district court dismissed, finding that Westmoreland failed adequately to plead demand futility, as required by FRCP 23.1(b)(3) and Delaware substantive law. The Seventh Circuit reversed, stating that particularized facts furnished by plaintiffs cast a reasonable doubt that the defendants’ conduct was the product of a valid exercise of business judgment. View "Westmoreland Cnty. Emps. Retirement Sys. v. Parkinson" on Justia Law
Tang Capital Partners LP, v. Norton
Plaintiffs are holders of Savient’s 4.75% convertible senior notes due in 2018, which are unsecured and subject to the terms of an indenture. Collectively, Plaintiffs own a face value of $48,709,000, approximately 40% of the outstanding Notes. Defendants are members of Savient’s board of directors USBNA serves as trustee for the Indenture governing the Notes. Following dismal sales of its new drug, KRYSTEXXA, Savient’s Board approved a financing transaction to exchange some existing unsecured Notes for new senior secured notes with a later maturity date. Through the Exchange, Savient exchanged around $108 million in Notes, raised around $44 million in new capital, and issued additional SSDNs with a face value of approximately $63 million. Like the Notes, the SSDNs are subject to an indenture for which USBNA serves as trustee. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that Savient was insolvent and brought derivative claims alleging waste and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the Exchange Transaction; alleged breach of fiduciary duty and waste claims in connection with the Board’s approval of retention awards for certain Savient executives. The chancellor dismissed the receivership claim for lack of standing and granted a declaration that an Event of Default has not occurred.View "Tang Capital Partners LP, v. Norton" on Justia Law
Hermelin v. K-V Pharmaceutical Co.
Plaintiff, a former corporate officer, sued defendant, his former employer, for advancement and indemnification in connection with several proceedings that arose out of regulatory and criminal investigations at the defendant corporation following defendant's distribution of oversized morphine sulfate tablets into the market. The dispute centered around whether plaintiff succeeded on the merits of any of the proceedings at issue, thus entitling him to indemnification as a matter of law, or whether additional discovery was required to determine whether plaintiff acted in good faith, in which case he would be entitled to indemnification under the Indemnification Agreement. The court found that plaintiff was not entitled to advancement for the Jail Records Matter; was not entitled to mandatory indemnification for the Criminal Matter or the HHS Exclusion Matter; was entitled to mandatory indemnification for the FDA Consent Decree Matter; and that the evidence relevant to plaintiff's claims for permissive identification was limited to plaintiff's conduct, and the facts related to that conduct, underlying the proceedings for which indemnification was sought.View "Hermelin v. K-V Pharmaceutical Co." on Justia Law
PharmAthene, Inc. v. SIGA Technologies, Inc.
This action arose out of a dispute between two companies involved in the development of pharmaceuticals. Plaintiff was a biodefense company engaged in the development and commercialization of medical countermeasures against biological and chemical weapons and defendant was also a biodefense company that concentrated on the discovery and development of oral antiviral and antibacterial drugs to treat, prevent, and complement vaccines for high-threat biowarfare agents. The court rejected plaintiff's claim that defendant breached a binding license agreement, but found that defendant did breach its obligations to negotiate in good faith and that defendant was liable to plaintiff under the doctrine of promissory estoppel. The court rejected defendant's claim that plaintiff breached its obligation to negotiate in good faith. The court denied plaintiff's claims for specific performance of a license agreement with the terms set forth in the time sheet or, alternatively, for a lump sum award of its expectation damages. The court concluded, however, that plaintiff was entitled to share in any profits relied on from the sale of the drug in question, after an adjustment for the upfront payments it likely would have had to make had the parties negotiated in good faith a license agreement in accordance with the terms of the term sheet. In addition, plaintiff was entitled to recover from defendant a portion of the attorneys' fees and expenses plaintiff incurred in pursuing the action. View "PharmAthene, Inc. v. SIGA Technologies, Inc." on Justia Law
MS Pub.Emps. Ret. Sys. v. Boston Scientific Corp.
The Mississippi Public Employees' Retirement System filed a class action, claiming that senior management of a publicly traded manufacturer of medical devices in which it invested, withheld material information and made misleading statements about devices for treating coronary artery disease, in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), 78t(a), and Securities Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5. In an earlier opinion, the First Circuit reversed dismissal, finding that the inference of scienter advanced by the plaintiff was at least as cogent and compelling as the contrary inference, satisfying the "strong inference" pleading standard of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. After discovery, the district court entered summary judgment in favor of defendants. The First Circuit affirmed, finding that plaintiff did not produce evidence that would support a reasonable inference of scienter. Given the statements and disclosures that defendants did make concerning the devices, they had no obligation to disclose the fact that they were working on an improvement that would reduce the very small number of no-deflate complaints that they received, and of which the market was aware. View "MS Pub.Emps. Ret. Sys. v. Boston Scientific Corp." on Justia Law