Lawsuit: Hawaii AG David Louie Conspired with Money-Grubbing Trial Lawyers to Gin up $8B Case
by Andrew Walden
Is the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office frontrunning for a trial lawyer money making scheme?
A lawsuit filed January 7, 2020, against the Hawaii AG says so. The suit argues that Hawaii AG David Louie in 2014 handed the imprimatur of his office over to a contingency-fee law firm and an ‘expert’ with a multi-million dollar personal stake in the outcome of the $8B litigation against Plavix manufacturers--set to go to trial in Hawaii State Circuit Court in April, 2020.
The January 7 lawsuit could have far broader implications for the AG’s office given the large number of national cases the Hawaii AG’s office involves itself in. How many of those cases are driven by the profit interest of private law firms?
Here are the details…
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB vs Connors
Case 1:20-cv-00010, Filed January 7, 2020 (excerpt)
12 … Hawai`i’s Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) lawsuit serves no legitimate, health related government interest. Despite the State’s lawsuit, all of the State’s Medicaid providers continue to reimburse for Plavix without regard to race or ethnicity and do not require genetic testing prior to prescribing the drug.
13. What is more, it appears that the State’s responsible health officials never voiced any concern whatsoever about Plavix’s effect in patients who have particular genetic traits or racial or ethnic backgrounds. When State Medicaid officials were deposed in August 2019, none recalled any concerns about Plavix.
The former medical director of the State Medicaid program could remember no discussion of issues with Plavix. The current medical director of the State Medicaid program, who has held that position since 2011, likewise remembered no discussion of issues with Plavix, and could not identify any steps he took to advise doctors or patients about purported concerns regarding Plavix.
14. Similarly, the State’s expert reports include no cardiologist from Hawai`i, no cardiologist from any Asian country, no evidence that any doctor in Hawai`i ever voiced concern about the genetic issue or changed their prescribing behavior in any way, and no evidence that anyone in Hawai`i was actually harmed.
15. Instead of supporting a genuine state interest, this suit appears to have been generated to achieve private financial gain. It was devised and marketed by private contingency-fee lawyers who are litigating it at no cost to the State. The State’s main expert is participating as a qui tam relator in a suit regarding genetic variability of response to Plavix in New Jersey federal court—a potentially lucrative engagement that expert has failed to disclose in the UDAP litigation. The UDAP complaint reflects no investigation by the State of Hawai`i but simply copies the substance of other complaints filed elsewhere.
16. In a traditional enforcement matter, when Hawai`i’s Attorney General or one of her assistants sues on behalf of the State, they have a professional and ethical obligation as government employees to serve the public interest—not necessarily to win the case, but rather to pursue actions that are a sound use of public resources and to see that justice is done. In this case, the private lawyers hired by the State are not dedicated to the public interest. Instead, the higher the verdict, the more the lawyers make—creating an overpowering incentive to maximize the monetary award, without regard to the larger public interest, the medical consequences, or the constitutional values that constrain State action. The weakening of these restraints heightens the risk to First Amendment rights….
read … Complaint
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ATTORNEY GENERAL STATEMENT REGARDING ATTEMPT TO AVOID CIVIL ENFORCEMENT ACTION
News Release from Hawaii AG, Jan 8, 2020
HONOLULU – The complaint filed yesterday in federal court to stop Hawai’i’s civil enforcement action against pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi for violation of the State’s consumer protection statutes is a shameful litigation tactic and a desperate attempt by these defendants to avoid facing justice in the pending state court trial. The defendants have litigated the state court action for the last six years, and yet they deliberately waited until three months before the state court trial to file this motion. Not only does this motion improperly attempt to get a federal judge involved in an ongoing state matter, it was filed only after every one of the defense’s other attempts to prevent a trial in state court failed. The state court trial is scheduled for April 27, 2020, and the State of Hawai’i is now tasked with responding to the matters raised in federal court at the same time as it prepares for trial.
The citizens of the state will learn the truth about the conduct of these pharmaceutical companies during the public trial. To ensure that this trial takes place without impediment, the Department of the Attorney General will vigorously defend against this unfortunate defense strategy and continue to hold defendants accountable for their unethical conduct. The State of Hawai’i is committed to ensuring that its citizens are treated fairly and honestly, especially when it comes to disclosures made about pharmaceutical drugs.
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