In November 2013, the California Superior Court for the County of San Diego approved a $74 million class action settlement between Bayer and the Class. On May 7, 2015, the California Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal and remanded the case for further proceedings. In that decision, the California Supreme Court ruled in Plaintiffs’ favor and adopted a “structured” rule of reason as the standard for adjudicating reverse payment antitrust cases. Following remand to the Superior Court, Plaintiffs reached a $100 million settlement agreement with Defendants Hoechst Marion Roussel, The Rugby Group, Inc., and Watson Pharmaceuticals, which the court approved on November 4, 2016. In January 2017, on the eve of trial, Plaintiffs settled with Barr, the sole remaining defendant, for $225 million.
Total Class recover of $399 million is a record for this type of case, exceeding Plaintiffs’ most aggressive calculation of single damages by $68 million. The Court is currently considering settlement finalization and funds distribution.
The firm’s Cipro settlements and 2015 win before the California Supreme Court have advanced antitrust law. That Court victory reversed a run of adverse rulings for the antitrust bar in pay-for-delay cases. Courts had adopted the “scope of the patent” test to block such claims unless plaintiffs could show that the generic drug manufacturer agreed not to compete with the brand manufacturer’s product beyond the patent’s expiration. Plaintiffs successfully contended that Bayer illegally paid nearly $400 million to a rival drugmaker to keep its competing generic off the market, which allowed Bayer to charge higher prices. The Supreme Court held that pay-for-delay arrangements are subject to antitrust scrutiny under California law and adopted a “structured” rule of reason that curtailed available defenses. Consequentially, plaintiff firms nationwide will rely on Cipro in similar future cases to recover damages and to deter these types of illegal arrangements.