Complaint Ruled Weak
PHILADELPHIA — Four “pay-for-delay” agreements that Cephalon Inc. entered into with separate generic drug manufacturers eight years ago don’t establish a conspiracy among the companies, a federal judge has ruled.
In the agreements, Cephalon paid a “substantial amount of money” to the generic companies, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg said, and the companies agreed to enter the market for a lucrative narcolepsy drug in April 2012. The agreements were made in late 2005 and early 2006.
However, Goldberg said, antitrust claims raised by generic-drug company, Apotex Inc., direct purchasers and end payors was too circumstantial. “After examination of the direct evidence of record, I disagree with plaintiffs that this evidence indisputably establishes a conspiracy,” he said.
Samsung to Pay $2M
SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. must pay more than $2 million to compensate Apple Inc. and Nokia Corp. for the firestorm of litigation that followed a leak of confidential business information, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal on June 20 ordered Samsung and its legal counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to reimburse $1.15 million for Nokia’s attorney fees and costs and $893,825 for Apple’s.
Laying to rest one of the last offshoots of Apple and Samsung’s original patent brawl, Grewal found that most of the attorney fees and costs requested by Apple and Nokia were reasonable and well-documented. He reasoned that Apple and Nokia were right to litigate fiercely after the leak of confidential information came to light.
Sony to Pay $15M
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a proposed class action that followed a PlayStation security breach in 2011 that exposed the personal information of an estimated 30 million users.
But even adding in $2.75 million in plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs, $1.25 million for claims administration and multimillion-dollar legal expenses as a defendant in a three-year court battle, the financial toll for Sony likely will amount to less than the $171 million the company estimated in 2011 than it would cost to clean up the mess.
The proposed settlement, filed on June 13 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, followed a number of court rulings consolidating scores of claims and dismissing dozens of others raising state consumer-protection claims. The “hacktivist” group Anonymous claimed responsibility for some of the breach.
Hotel Chain on Hook
NEWARK — A federal judge ruled on June 23 that the Wyndham hotel chain and three subsidiaries are all on the hook in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission over the failure of one ­subsidiary to safeguard customers’ personal data.
The FTC made sufficient allegations to support a common-enterprise theory of joint and several liability, since the various Wyndham Worldwide Corp. entities are under common control, pool their resources and staff, and share office space, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas said.
The FTC suit claims Wyndham took insufficient measures to ward off hackers after the company’s data center in Arizona was the subject of three data breaches. The FTC called Wyndham a “maze of related companies.” Wyndham Worldwide is the sole owner of the company’s Hotel Group subsidiary, which, owns two other subsidiaries — Hotels and Resorts and Hotel Management.
Professor Avoids Jail
LOS ANGELES — A University of Cali­fornia at Los Angeles, chemistry professor has struck a deal to avoid jail time in the 2008 death of a student working in one of his laboratories.
Patrick Harran, charged in 2011 with felony counts involving violations of state labor codes, will serve 800 hours of community service and pay $10,000 to the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, Calif. That’s where Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji died after transferring 1.8 ounces of flammable t-butyl lithium that spilled and burst into flames.
Harran, believed to be the first academic criminally charged in a lab fire, had faced 4 1/2 years in prison for failing to maintain an injury-and-illness-prevention program or provide protection for employees exposed to hazardous substances.
Madoff Accountant Pleas
NEW YORK — A senior partner at a Connecticut accounting firm pleaded guilty to criminal charges on June 24 in a cooperation deal with the government, saying he unwittingly played a role in financier Bernard Madoff’s “horrific and evil Ponzi scheme.”
Paul Konigsberg, formerly of Konigs­berg Wolf & Co., pleaded guilty to conspiracy and two counts of falsifying books and records in federal court. He agreed to forfeit $4.4 million in cash and property. Sentencing was set for Sept. 19.
Federal prosecutors said Konigsberg was the only person outside the Madoff family to have held an ownership interest in the private investment business before it was exposed in 2008 as a gigantic decades-old fraud. He worked for some of Madoff’s most important clients, beginning in at least the early 1990s.
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.
NEWARK — The widow of a New Jersey lawyer shot to death during a carjacking may seek punitive damages from the shopping mall where the homicide occurred, along with the mall security company and additional defendants, a state judge has ruled.
Dustin Friedland was fatally shot in the presence of his wife, Jamie, in the parking lot of the Mall at Short Hills in Millburn, N.J., on Dec. 15 by gunmen who stole his Range Rover SUV. Jamie Friedland is a landlord-tenant law attorney at Adam Leitman Bailey in New York.
Essex County, N.J., Superior Court Judge James Rothschild Jr. denied a motion to dismiss the punitives request for failure to state a claim, holding there should be an opportunity to conduct discovery first. He also denied a motion to stay the civil case pending resolution of criminal charges against the four men accused in the shooting.
Dad Deemed Dangerous
NEW YORK — A family court judge has imposed a five-year order of protection against a man who chased the mother of his children in a car at high speed, ­following an appeals panel’s finding that the car was “dangerous instrument.”
Bronx County, N.Y., Civil Court Judge John Kelley’s June 18 decision came after an intermediate state appeals court overruled another judge who imposed a two-year order of protection, citing aggravating circumstances.
On one occasion the man chased the mother and child at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, trapped her between other cars, got out of his car and started banging on her window. She escaped by driving in reverse down a one-way street. The order of says the man cannot have any contact with the woman except to arrange visits with their children.
Bad Faith Established
PHILADELPHIA — More than 16 years after the litigation began and two years after a state appeals court granted a new trial to a couple pursuing a bad-faith claim against their insurance carrier, a trial judge has levied $18 million in punitive damages and $3 million in attorney fees against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
The Bergs alleged that Nationwide knowingly returned to them a vehicle with structural damages despite four months of repairs following a collision and then paid millions to drag out the litigation of their disputed insurance claim, according to court documents.
On June 12, Berks County, Pa., Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Sprecher found that “Nationwide strong-armed its own policyholder rather than negotiating in good faith to compensate plaintiff for the loss suffered in the automobile collision.”
Data Ordered Returned
SAN JOSE — A state judge agreed on June 24 to help SanDisk Corp. retrieve trade secrets it says were stolen by a competitor in a case that sparked an overseas arrest in March.
Santa Clara County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan said he would issue a preliminary injunction requiring South Korea-based SK Hynix Inc. to hand over the alleged secrets, despite Hynix’s protest that the order could cripple its business. “I want whatever was taken,” Kirwan said, “in whatever forms, whether it’s been used in other documents, other things — I want it returned.”
SanDisk claims a former employee took 10 gigabytes of confidential data when he defected to Hynix in 2008. SanDisk was tipped off to the theft in January, the company said, and the engineer was arrested in Tokyo.