Week Ahead in Health: Sep. 7, 2021

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(Reuters) – Here are some upcoming events of interest to health law community. All times are local.

Tuesday, Sep. 7

9 a.m. – A trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection before St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison over claims against Johnson & Johnson alleging that its talc-based hygiene products caused ovarian cancer. Opening statements are expected the following day. The plaintiffs are two Missouri women and the daughter of a third who is now deceased. Burlison previously presided over a trial that ended in a $4.7 billion verdict against J&J, later reduced to $2 billion.

The case is Forrest et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, State of Missouri. For plaintiffs: Ted Meadows of Beasley Allen. For J&J: Allison Brown of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Wednesday, Sep. 8

9 a.m. – Opening statements are scheduled in Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ criminal fraud trial before U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California. Holmes, 37, has pleaded not guilty to defrauding Theranos investors and patients by falsely claiming that the now-defunct blood testing company had developed technology to run a wide range of tests on a single drop of blood.

The case is USA v. Holmes et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 5:18-cr-00258. For the government: Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Schenk. For Holmes: Kevin Downey of Williams & Connolly.

Thursday, Sep. 9

9:30 a.m. – The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments over whether to revive a whistleblower lawsuit by a pharmacist accusing Safeway Inc of overcharging Medicare for prescription drugs by reporting list prices as “usual and customary,” rather than the discounted prices it actually charged most uninsured customers. U.S. District Judge Richard Mills of the Central District of Illinois granted Safeway summary judgment after concluding the company was acting under a reasonable interpretation of the law.

The case is Proctor et al v. Safeway Inc, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-3425. For plaintiff: Dale Aschemann of Aschemann Keller. For Safeway: John O’Quinn of Kirkland & Ellis.

Sep. 10

9 a.m. – Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments in a case against the state’s Department of Correction by inmates alleging that the agency was deliberately indifferent to the risk posed by COVID-19 in prisons. A lower court denied the plaintiffs’ bid for a preliminary injunction requiring the department to take steps to mitigate the risk, including reducing prison population.

The case is Foster and others v. Mici and others, Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth, Massachusetts, No. SJC-13125. For plaintiffs: Bonita Tenneriello of Prisoners’ Legal Services. For the state: Special Assistant Attorney General Nancy Ankers White.

1 p.m. – A final pretrial conference is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi in Cleveland, Ohio in a criminal case accusing two former Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc salesmen and two doctors with engaging in a kickback scheme aimed at encouraging off-label prescriptions for a mood-disorder drug. Former Avanir sales representatives Gregory Hayslette and Frank Mazzucco, along with doctors Deepak Raheja and Bhupinder Sawhny, were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019 for their alleged roles in the scheme involving Nuedexta, a drug used to treat a neurological condition called pseudobulbar affect, characterized by uncontrollable episodes of inappropriate laughing or crying.

The case is U.S. v. Raheja, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, No. 19-cr-00559. For the United States: Megan Miller, Michael Collyer and James Morford of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio. For Raheja: Mark Marein and Steven Bradley for Marein & Bradley For Sawhny: Brent English. For Hayslette: Marisa Darden of Squire Patton Boggs. For Mazzucco: Daniel Rubinstein of Winston & Strawn.

Know of an event that could be included in Week Ahead in Health? Contact Brendan Pierson at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com

Brendan Pierson

Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.

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Brendan Pierson