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Walgreens Suit Against A Law Firm In Drug Pricing Moves Forward

 |  February 10, 2022

A Chicago federal judge on Wednesday declined to dismiss Walgreen’s claim that a law firm representing major health insurers in a drug-pricing lawsuit against the pharmacy retailer has a conflict of interest because it formerly represented the company.

US District Judge Virginia Kendall said in her ruling that Walgreens had presented enough information to keep alive its assertion that Washington, DC-based Crowell & Moring has breached its fiduciary duties to Walgreens based on its prior legal work for the company.

Crowell once represented Walgreens after the launch of its “prescription savings club” program, and the company contends that the plaintiffs’ claims in the Chicago drug-pricing lawsuit relate to the law firm’s prior legal services.

Walgreens’ lawyers contend the plaintiff health plans are “aiding and abetting” Crowell’s alleged conflict of interest.

Kendall’s ruling also denied a bid from Crowell to “qualify” the law firm to represent the plaintiffs in their case against Walgreens. The firm argued its work for Walgreens more than a decade ago was not “substantially related” to the pending Chicago lawsuit.

The judge said there’s no case law recognizing a “motion to qualify.”

Such a motion “would flip the legal standard governing disqualification on its head — effectively forcing Walgreens to argue a motion to disqualify that it has not brought and may never bring.”

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