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BOSTON � Dwyer & Collora is leveraging recent key business litigation and health care law victories to increase its roster and develop beyond its white-collar defense roots. The 25-attorney Dwyer & Collora began as a white-collar defense shop with four lawyers 20 years ago and has since branched out into complementary litigation areas, such as securities and health care litigation. Business litigation is another natural fit, said partner David Bunis, who specializes in complex commercial litigation and mediation and arbitration. “A lot of skills that apply to white collar apply to business litigation,” Bunis said. “It gives clients the confidence that we know how to try cases.” The Boston firm’s work on a 2007 civil settlement of seven qui tam cases against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. for its drug marketing and pricing practices boosted its workload. It also continues to reap dividends from a 2004 victory in a law firm opinion letter case that generated national attention. To keep pace with the caseload, Dwyer & Collora added five lawyers last year, two last month and it plans to add a couple more this year. Despite the torrid pace of its expansion since 2007 relative to its size, the firm’s objective is sustained, planned growth, said managing partner and employment lawyer Jody Newman. “We want to maintain our niche as a litigation boutique,” Newman said. “We’re now a small- to medium-sized firm in this giant market.” Dean Foods case Bunis was the firm’s seventh attorney in 1991, but he said the business litigation work really took off when the firm successfully represented Dallas-based dairy producer Dean Foods Co. in a Massachusetts state court case about a law firm’s opinion letter. Dean Foods Co. v. Pappathanasi, No. SUCV2001-02595 (Suffolk Co., Mass., Super. Ct.). “It helped put us on the map for business litigation for many other big cases,” Bunis said. During an acquisition, neither the prior owners of a company Dean Foods bought nor its law firm’s opinion letter disclosed an ongoing federal grand jury investigation of the target company for tax-fraud conspiracy. The prior owners settled before trial, but a judge’s 2004 decision found the law firm liable for negligent misrepresentation and common law negligence. The court ordered the law firm to reimburse Dean Foods for its $7.2 million settlement with the government stemming from charges associated with the acquired company, plus legal fees. “It gave very significant guidance to lawyers around the country about their obligations to a recipient of a lawyers’ opinion letter, even when that recipient isn’t their client,” Bunis said. One of the consequences of the Dean Foods case was a series of cases for Bank of America Corp. about auditor opinion letters, including two currently pending in Suffolk County Superior Court, Bunis said. Bank of America N.A. v. Deloitte & Touche, No. SUCV2006-02218; Bank of America N.A. v. BDO Seidman, No. SUCV2006-01705 (Suffolk Co., Mass., Super. Ct.). The firm’s health care fraud practice has generated its own buzz for its work late last year on a $515 million civil settlement for clients Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and its Apothecon Inc. subsidiary with the U.S. Department of Justice. Dwyer & Collora and co-counsel Hogan & Hartson of Washington brokered a settlement that included no criminal charges and full or partial resolution of seven False Claims Act cases, including six Massachusetts cases and one in Florida. The Massachusetts cases, filed in the state’s U.S. district court, include U.S. ex rel. Richardson v. Bristol-Myers, No. 06-11821; U.S. ex rel. Piacentile v. Bristol-Myers, No. 05-1019; U.S. ex rel. Forden v. Bristol-Myers, No. 04-11216.

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