Zoe Littlepage and Rainey Booth, two attorneys who sued Pfizer over Prempro, a menopause drug, will reportedly get more than $21.8 million in legal fees.
The amount represents twice what they were initially expected to receive, according to news reports.
The attorneys rejected recommendations “that they share $9.52 million for more than 11 years of litigation against New York-based Pfizer and its Wyeth and Upjohn units over the hormone-replacement drugs,” Bloomberg Businessweek reported. As a result of their steadfastness, they will be getting a lot more from the common-benefit fund.
The two attorneys practice together at a Houston-based law firm, Littlepage Booth, which focuses exclusively on defective drug cases. The law firm displays on its website the amounts juries awarded plaintiffs in hormone therapy cases, as well as the names of some of the plaintiffs.
The two attorneys, as well as others who received fees from the litigation, agreed in court papers not to speak about the fee issue to the media. “The parties have amicably resolved their dispute over fees and expenses,” was the statement released on the fees, according to court papers.
Littlepage was the lead attorney, who, along with colleagues, represented some 8,500 women in the lawsuit against Pfizer. The total available funds for legal fees were $62 million. The medicine was allegedly associated with cancer, but Pfizer did not admit any wrongdoing, paying some $1.7 billion in response to the lawsuits, Bloomberg reported. The federal cases were consolidated in a Little Rock, Ark., courtroom.
When asked to comment on the Prempro issue from the point of view of inside counsel, Erik Gordon, who teaches at both the law and business schools at the University of Michigan and has advised many companies, told InsideCounsel, “Sometimes you face opposing counsel who are happy to make a quick settlement and take home a fee that costs you relatively little but represents a big return on opposing counsel's investment in the case.”
“Other times you face people who are on a mission,” he added in the statement. “They are not easy to make disappear with an early settlement that rewards them well for a relatively small amount of work. They want large compensation for their clients, and often want you take other costly remedial action. By the time you reach a settlement, opposing counsel has put in a lot of work and wants a similarly large amount of compensation. Pfizer ran into this with Prempro, where opposing counsel battled Pfizer bitterly for many years, and were in no mood to take a relatively small amount for their clients or for themselves.”