Bill Burck, Stephen Hauss, and Daniel Koffman of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan land in the top runner-up spot this week for getting a long-running False Claims Act suit against insurance giant AIG knocked out with prejudice by a state trial court in New York. Former AIG employee Alex Grabcheski alleged that the company had evaded more than $50 million in state taxes for decades. MetLife previously settled similar claims related to a former AIG subsidiary that it has since acquired. But AIG’s lawyers at Quinn convinced Judge John Kelley of New York Supreme Court this week that the conduct that MetLife conceded in 2014 was unlawful insurance activity actually does “not constitute the conducting of an insurance business under the [state’s] Insurance Law or the Tax Law.” (Extra kudos to Burck for being the rare litigator who can claim to have been bested by himself. Read our back-and-forth with him and colleague AJ Merton in this week’s winner Q&A below.)
Also landing a runner-up spot is a team at Shook, Hardy & Bacon led by Hildy Sastre and Jennifer Hill. The Shook team won summary judgement for GlaxoSmithKline ending six years of multi-district litigation considering whether the nausea medication Zofran caused birth defects in 400 women using the drug during pregnancy. U.S. Chief District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in Boston found last week that all of the plaintiffs’ state law claims of failure to provide an adequate warning label were preempted by federal law.