Christopher McDonald of Labaton Sucharow.
Christopher McDonald of Labaton Sucharow. ()

Think “securities fraud litigation,” and Labaton Sucharow should pop to mind. During 2013, partners Christopher McDonald and Jonathan Plasse served as co-lead counsel with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann in a class action against Schering-Plough Corp., recovering $473 million for investors. “It’s by far the largest settlement against a pharmaceutical company in a securities fraud class action,” McDonald said.

The plaintiffs alleged Schering misled them over a clinical trial testing the cholesterol drug Vytorin, which Schering marketed with Merck & Co. (The two later merged.) Publication of the results was delayed multiple times, McDonald said, but ultimately showed the drug failed, causing steep declines in Schering’s stock price.

“We alleged they delayed publication because they knew the drug performed poorly,” he said. The settlement was approved on Oct. 1.

Merck’s and Schering’s attorney, Daniel Kramer of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, said his client was satisfied with the deal. “We decided it was in the best interest of the company to settle rather than go to trial,” he said.

Labaton served as co-lead counsel for multiple Ohio retirement systems and the Ohio attorney general’s office, prosecuting a complex securities case in connection with American International Group Inc.’s alleged involvement in an insurance market scheme and accounting violations that led to a massive restatement in May 2005 that reduced the company’s reported income by $3.9 billion and wiped out $2.26 billion in shareholder equity.

Filed in 2004 in New York, the case targeted AIG and 21 other defendants. Partners Thomas Dubbs, Louis Gottlieb and others joined Ohio co-counsel Hahn Loeser & Parks in 2005, recovering more than $1 billion in settlements.

Counsel for the defendants declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

FIRM FACTS

Founded: 1963
Based: New York
Total No. of Attorneys: 58
Partners: 24
Associates: 28

TRIAL TIPS

► Incorporate credible portions of the other side’s narrative into your own argument.
—Christopher McDonald, partner
► When involved in a pharmaceutical, ­biotech or medical device lawsuit, you must understand the science; you cannot get through depositions otherwise. —McDonald
► In securities cases, many jurors believe the stock market is a crapshoot, so it’s necessary to explain how their pensions are often based on equity investments. —Thomas Dubbs, partner