In a case closely watched by general counsel everywhere, a federal judge Monday ruled (pdf) against former GC Howard Udell and two fellow drug company executives who were debarred from working at companies that do business with Medicare/Medicaid or other federal programs.

Udell, who worked at Purdue Frederick Company, Inc., is the first known general counsel of a major company to be excluded from federal programs based on the so-called “responsible corporate officer” doctrine. The case stems from the misbranding of the addictive painkiller Oxycontin.