On Friday, Arkansas state judge Tim Fox ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $181 million in attorney fees to the Houston-based law firm Bailey Perrin Bailey. The law firm had represented the state of Arkansas in pursuing the Medicare fraud case in which Johnson & Johnson had been accused of downplaying the risks of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
The attorney fees of Bailey Perrin Bailey are the 15 percent contingency fee that the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office had agreed to pay the law firm. Bailey Perrin assigned up to 10 lawyers and five paralegals in the case in which the state judge awarded Arkansas a total sum of $1.2 billion.
Johnson & Johnson has already appealed the award made to Arkansas, and has also made it known that it is going to appeal the attorney-fees award. Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Teresa Mueller termed the fee as “excessive.”
She also said in a statement, “The fee awarded represents about $19,700 per hour for each of the outside attorneys and staff who worked on the case for the state, based on our reconstruction of their actual time.”
In a response to the statement of the Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, a spokesman for the Office of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the ruling “has nothing whatsoever to do with reconstruction of time,” but that it had to do with the deceptive and illegal actions of the defendant.
During the two-week trial, the state of Arkansas alleged that Johnson & Johnson had practiced deception and wrongfully convinced thousands of doctors into believing in the safety of Risperdal, by marketing the drug for unapproved uses to treat the children and elderly. Consequently, it was the Medicaid insurance program of the state that suffered, by having to overpay for the drug.