By Casey Sullivan
Jan 22 (Reuters) - New York law firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler
Freeman & Herz has sued Delaware plaintiffs' firm Grant &
Eisenhofer over legal fees generated by a $1.5 billion
settlement between Abbott Laboratories and government
In a lawsuit filed on Friday in New York Supreme Court, Wolf
Haldenstein claimed that Grant Eisenhofer had failed to pay Wolf
Haldenstein its fair share, or at least $150,000, of the
settlement's legal fees.
According to Wolf Haldenstein, former partner Reuben
Guttman originated the federal whistle-blower lawsuit against
Abbott Laboratories, both researching and drafting the complaint
with his Wolf Haldenstein colleagues.
When Guttman left Wolf Haldenstein in July 2007 to join
Grant Eisenhofer, he took the lawsuit with him, Wolf Haldenstein
said in the complaint.
The whistle-blower lawsuit claimed that Abbott illegally
promoted unapproved uses of its drug Depakote and paid millions
in illegal rebates to pharmacists to recommend the drug to
elderly dementia patients to treat schizophrenia when the drug
wasn't FDA-approved for that purpose.
Shortly after Guttman's departure, Grant Eisenhofer agreed
to pay Wolf Haldenstein for the time its attorneys and support
staff spent on the Abbott case in the event of a victory,
according to Wolf Haldenstein's lawsuit.
Wolf Haldenstein claimed its lawyers and support staff were
responsible for 267 hours of legal work associated with drafting
the lawsuit. The work included analyzing thousands of pages of
Abbott's documents and emails obtained through a whistle-blower,
researching legal issues and developing claims and theories of
liability, according to the lawsuit.
In May 2012, Abbott agreed to a $1.5 billion settlement with
federal and state governments, the third-largest payment by a
pharmaceutical company in a lawsuit.
After the settlement was announced, Wolf Haldenstein wrote
to Guttman congratulating him on the victory and reminding him
of the firm's agreement that it pay Wolf Haldenstein its fair
share of legal fees, according to the lawsuit. Grant Eisenhofer
refused to discuss the matter and offered no reason for its
refusal, the lawsuit said.
Wolf Haldenstein claimed it is owed at least $150,000 out of
the "millions of dollars" in legal fees Grant & Eisenhofer
earned in the settlement.
Stuart Grant, managing director of Grant & Eisenhofer, and
Reuben Guttman, the lead Abbott Laboratories lawyer, did not
return requests for comment. Mark Rifkin, a partner with Wolf
Haldenstein who filed the lawsuit, declined to comment.
The case is Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz v. Grant &
Eisenhofer, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of
New York, No. 650181-2013.
For the plaintiff: Mark Rifkin and Daniel Tepper of Wolf
Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.
For the defendant: Not immediately available.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook