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Sheila Birnbaum and Mark Cheffo, co-chairs of the products liability and mass torts practice (Photo by David Handschuh/NYLJ) Sheila Birnbaum and Mark Cheffo, co-chairs of the products liability and mass torts practice (Photo by David Handschuh/NYLJ)

What are some of the department’s most satisfying successes of the past year and why? It’s been a really exciting and successful year. Dechert started the year with a huge appellate victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for longtime firm client, Pfizer, involving its cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of an entire MDL consisting of more than 3,000 cases alleging that Lipitor caused type 2 diabetes. The court agreed with the trial court’s determination that the plaintiffs’ had not proffered scientifically reliable expert testimony supporting this theory. Dechert also represents Purdue Pharma as national defense counsel in the opioid litigations, consisting of some 1,300 federal cases aggregated in an MDL in Ohio, and hundreds more cases brought by state attorneys generals, cities, and municipalities. Dechert spearheaded a historic settlement with the state of Oklahoma where the settlement funds will be used to establish one of the largest and most innovative substance use disorder treatment centers in the country. Dechert has also won outright victories for Purdue in Connecticut, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and partial victories in a number of other states. Rounding out the year, Dechert won a significant appellate victory in the Second Circuit for client State Farm where the court sided with State Farm and rejected plaintiffs’ attempt to force the company to pay for property damage caused by shoddy construction materials. The Second Circuit’s decision—which correctly recognized that State Farm’s policy excluded coverage for damages caused by the use of substandard construction materials—will foreclose many similar cases that had or could have been brought against State Farm.

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