Does Pfizer play legal roulette?
Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit vacated the decision by the Distric Court to dismiss Peter Rost's qui tam suit against Pfizer.
The Court of Appeals decision demonstrates how Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler's strategy to play legal roulette, which Kindler described in a WSJ interview, can backfire.
Pfizer was encouraged by the Department of Justice to settle the civil qui tam suit, but chose not to.
Now they face the possibility of fines in excess of $100 million, should Rost prevail, in addition to the $35 million they already paid.
Back in 2006 Kindler told the Wall Street Journal, "By virtue of being a large company we have a lot of resources. So we can go to war for a long period of time with plaintiffs lawyers if we need to. None of these cases are threatening the financial viability of this enterprise. We have the resources to take them on and we manage them, I think, very effectively. Plaintiffs lawyers are in business like anybody else. They think about how to most quickly and most easily get their rewards from their business. So we're hoping that when a plaintiffs lawyer is thinking about who to go after maybe they'll think Pfizer's going to make it a little harder for me than so-and-so, so maybe I'll go after so-and-so."