(Daily Journal) Joseph Saveri of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm was selected by the California Daily Journal as a “Top Antitrust Lawyer” in California for 2020. He and fellow Top Antitrust Lawyer Steven Williams were profiled in a supplement contained in today’s issue. The Firm was one of only five statewide to have multiple lawyers selected for this new Daily Journal “Top” category:
Joseph R. Saveri – Plaintiffs’ litigation
Joseph Saveri and the boutique antitrust and complex civil and class action firm he founded in 2012 have pursued a wide array of cases, but challenges to the cost of drugs stand out, he said.
“We’ve been very active in drug pricing antitrust litigation, and we’ve been a leader in that area over the years. We continue to build on our expertise.”
Saveri serves as interim co-lead counsel for End-Payer Plaintiffs in an antitrust class action against Allergan Inc. over an alleged scheme to delay generic competition to Allergan’s blockbuster Restasis drug, a medication used primarily for treating chronic dry eye.
On May 5, 2020, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon of Brooklyn, N.Y., certified the End-Payer Class and ordered the exclusion of two of Allergan’s experts. In re: Restasis (Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion) Antitrust Litigation, 1:18-md-02819 (E.D. N.Y., filed Jan. 31, 2018).
“One trend I’ve seen is that while motions used to be granted on the papers in most cases, here we had a week-long hearing on the experts questions. It felt like a mini-trial,” Saveri said. “I made the case that these weren’t really experts and their testimony would not be relevant. They were basically paid mouthpieces. Allergan hired them and they said what Allergan wanted them to say. The judge also partly excluded their economist, who relied on the excluded experts.”
Saveri’s client is the Self-Insured Schools of California, a state joint powers authority that provides health benefits to more than 300,000 public school district employees and their family members. The case centers on allegations that Allergan unlawfully extended its monopoly in the market for Restasis through a series of fraudulent and anticompetitive acts. Saveri has so far prevailed; in September 2018 he persuaded the court to deny Allergan’s motion to dismiss for failure to allege causation.
“If the case doesn’t settle, we’re getting ready for trial,” which is set for later in 2020, Saveri said.
A model for drug pricing antitrust cases is the Firm’s success with claims that the maker of the highly successful antibiotic Cipro and several generic drug companies entered into an unlawful “reverse” payment” agreement to keep a generic version off the market, allowing Cipro’s maker, Bayer AG, to charge inflated prices. That case took a visit to the California Supreme Court before Bayer came to the table and, in 2017, settled the matter for $399 million. Saveri said that the settlement arrangements and distribution have been taking place over the past two years. In re: Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litigation Cases I and II, JCCP 4154 and 4220 (S. Diego Super. Ct., filed Aug. 5, 2002).