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Judge Largely Rejects Fee Request in Failed Whistleblower Case

January 25, 2022 | Posted in : Expenses / Costs, Fee Entitlement / Recoverability, Fee Request, Fees as Sanctions

A recent Reuters story by Nate Raymond, “J&J’s $2.4M Fee Request Largely Rejected in Failed Whistleblower Case,” reports that a federal judge largely rejected Johnson & Johnson's bid to have two surgeons who served as expert witnesses in lawsuits over J&J's hip implants pay it $2.4 million for misusing confidential records from that mass tort litigation while pursuing their own whistleblower case against the company. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley in Boston awarded J&J some of its expenses but said forcing Antoni Nargol and David Langton to pay its attorneys' fees too would be an "excessive" punishment after she last month tossed their case as a sanction for the misuse of records.  The judge instead only awarded J&J some of its expenses other than attorneys' fees, such as for certain printing and docketing costs.  The exact amount will be determined based on later briefing.

Nargol and Langton sued J&J's DePuy Orthopaedics Inc unit in 2012 under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to sue companies on the government's behalf to recover taxpayer funds paid out based on fraudulent claims.  They alleged DePuy marketed defective metal-on-metal Pinnacle-branded hip implant devices to unsuspecting doctors who then sought government reimbursement for the products.  DePuy stopped selling the devices in 2013.