In September, when Manhattan federal district court Judge Kimba Wood dismissed a purported class action against Pfizer in which union health and welfare funds claimed misrepresentations involving the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, she gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to re-plead most of the allegations, including their fraud and RICO claims. (Here’s a good analysis of her opinion by Russell Jackson at the Consumer Class Action and Mass Torts blog.) But the plans apparently didn’t hold out much hope that they could impress Wood on the second go-around. On Friday, both sides filed a stipulation indicating that the plaintiffs will drop the case and that Pfizer will not seek attorney fees or costs.
The plaintiffs, third-party payors that covered a portion of the cost of Lipitor prescriptions for their members, alleged that Pfizer had misled doctors about the benefits and side effects of the medication. Wood ruled that the allegations in their complaint didn’t meet Iqbal pleading standards.
Pfizer’s counsel in the case, Mark Cheffo of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, told us that Wood’s ruling called for plaintiffs to show in an amended complaint that they relied on specific alleged misrepresentations. But that would have made it tough for them to argue at the class certification state that class issues predominated, he said.
“I think they saw the handwriting on the wall,” Cheffo said.
Grant & Eisenhofer, known mostly for its work in securities class actions, took the lead on the case for the plaintiffs. We left a message with partner Stephen Grygiel, but didn’t hear back.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Litigation Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.