Thomas M. Sobol

Voted Massachusetts Ten Leading Litigators
—The National Law Journal
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Current Role

  • Partner & Executive Committee Member, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP
  • Leads Hagens Berman’s Boston office
  • Leader in drug pricing litigation efforts against numerous pharmaceutical and medical device companies
  • Lead negotiator in court-approved settlements totaling more than $2 billion
  • Currently court-appointed co-lead counsel in Meijer Inc. v. Ranbaxy Inc. and court-appointed lead counsel for In re Restasis Antitrust Litigation, In re Zetia (Ezetimibe) Antitrust Litigation, In re Intuniv Antitrust Litigation, In re Niaspan Antitrust Litigation, In re Loestrin 24 Fe Antitrust Litigation, In re Suboxone Antitrust Litigation, In re Lipitor Antitrust Litigation, and In re Effexor Antirust Litigation 
  • Appointed lead counsel in MDL No. 2419: In re New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. Products Liability, representing more than 700 victims who contracted fungal meningitis or other serious health problems as a result of receiving contaminated products produced by NECC, resulting in a $200 million settlement
  • Lead counsel to the Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) project, the largest coalition of health care advocacy groups that fight illegal, loophole-based overpricing by pharmaceutical companies

Recent Success

  • Lidoderm direct purchaser litigation settlement ($166 million)
  • Solodyn direct purchaser litigation settlement ($72.5 million)
  • Celebrex direct purchaser litigation settlement ($94 million)
  • Aggrenax direct purchaser litigation settlement ($146 million)
  • Asacol direct purchaser litigation settlement ($15 million)
  • Neurontin class action marketing settlement ($325 million)
  • NECC meningitis outbreak settlement ($200 million)
  • Profraf direct purchaser litigation settlement ($98 million)
  • Flonase direct purchaser litigation settlement ($150 million)
  • Wellbutrin XL direct purchaser litigation ($37.5 million)
  • First Databank litigation (4% price reduction of most retail drugs)
  • McKesson litigation ($350 million)
  • Zyprexa litigation on behalf of the State of Connecticut ($25 million)
  • Vioxx third party payor litigation ($80 million)
  • Paxil direct purchaser litigation ($150 million)
  • Co-lead trial counsel in the Neurontin MDL ($142 million RICO jury verdict)

Experience

  • Seventeen years in large Boston firm handling large complex civil litigation
  • Special Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the states of New Hampshire and Rhode Island
  • Private counsel for Massachusetts and New Hampshire in groundbreaking litigation against the tobacco industry (Significant injunctive relief and recovery of more than $10 billion)
  • Judicial clerk for Chief Justice Allan M. Hale, Massachusetts Appeals Court, 1983-1984
  • Board Chairman, New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, 1995-2002

Recognition

  • Massachusetts Ten Leading Litigators, The National Law Journal

Notable Cases

  • $166 Million Recovery in Lidoderm Antitrust Action
    In September 2018, the Honorable William Orrick of the Northern District of California granted final approval to a $166 million class settlement for direct purchasers of brand and generic Lidoderm. HBSS served as co-lead counsel challenging a reverse payment agreement between Endo Pharmaceuticals and Actavis that delayed generic competition for Lidoderm for more than one year.
    In re Lidoderm Antitrust Litigation, N.D. Ca., MDL No. 2521
     
  • $72.5 Million Recovery in Solodyn Antitrust Action
    In July 2018, the Honorable Denise J. Casper of the District of Massachusetts granted final approval to a $72.5 million class settlement for direct purchasers of brand and generic Solodyn. HBSS was co-lead class counsel in this case alleging Medicis entered into a series of reverse payment deals to delay entry of generic Solodyn and used the period of delay to effectuate a product hop, all resulting in overcharges by direct purchasers. The case settled three days before trial.
    In re Solodyn Antitrust Litigation, D. Mass., MDL No. 2503
     
  • $94 Million Recovery in Celebrex Antitrust Litigation
    In April 2018, the Honorable Arenda Wright Allen of the Eastern District of Virginia granted final approval to a $94 million class settlement for direct purchasers of brand and generic Celebrex. HBSS was sole lead counsel in this case that alleged Pfizer obtained reissuance of a patent that provided
    an additional eighteen months of patent protection for Celebrex by making misrepresentations and omissions to the Patent and Trademark Office; Pfizer then asserted that bogus patent to delay generics from coming to market, in violation of federal antitrust law. The case settled mere weeks before trial.
    American Sales Co. LLC v. Pfizer, Inc., E.D. Va. (Norfolk Division) 14-cv-00361
     
  • $146 Million Recovery in Aggrenox Antitrust Litigation
    In December 2017, the Honorable Stefan Underhill of the District of Connecticut granted final approval to a $146 million class settlement for direct purchasers of brand and generic Aggrenox. HBSS served on the three-member Executive Committee on behalf of the direct purchaser class in this case alleging that brand manufacturer entered into an unlawful reverse-payment agreement with generic manufacturer Teva in order to delay market availability of generic formulations of Aggrenox.
    In re Aggrenox Antitrust Litigation, D. Conn., MDL No. 2516
     
  • $15 Million Settlement of Antitrust Action Involving Asacol
    In December 2017, the Honorable Denise Casper of the District of Massachusetts granted final approval to a $15 million settlement on behalf of direct purchasers of Asacol. HBSS served as one member of an Executive Committee in this product hopping case against brand manufacturer Allergan plc and its predecessor Warner Chilcott alleging Warner Chilcott made minor, immaterial changes to its Asacol formulation, e.g., changing the dosage amount from 400mg to 800mg, and later changing the dosage form from tablet to capsule, for the sole purpose of preventing generic manufacturers from obtaining FDA approval for a generic product that could be automatically substituted for Asacol.
    In re Asacol Antitrust Litigation, D. Mass. 15-cv-12730
     
  • $189 Million Bankruptcy Resolution for contaminated MPA made by New England Compounding Company
    In May 2015, the Honorable Henry J. Boroff of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts confirmed a Chapter 11 plan for NECC that included tort settlements totaling more than$189 million in contributions from NECC’s owners, affiliate companies, vendors, and their insurers, as well as several independent clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and their respective insurers for having administered the contaminated injections compounded by NECC. HBSS served as court-appointed lead counsel in the MDL.
    In re New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., D. Mass., MDL No. 2419.; In re New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. (Chapter 11), Bankr. D. Mass., 12-br-19882-HJB
     
  • $350 Million for Consumers and Third Party Payers in RICO Action Against McKesson
    In August 2009, the Honorable Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts approved a $350 million nationwide settlement with McKesson Corporation on behalf of consumers and health plans for McKesson’s role in misreporting the average wholesale price of prescription drugs. HBSS served as lead class counsel.
    New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund et al v. First DataBank, Inc. and McKesson Corp., D. Mass., Civil Action No. 05-cv-11148-PBS
     
  • $142 Million Civil RICO Jury Verdict in Massachusetts Regarding Neurontin
    On Mar. 25, 2010, following a four-and-a-half week trial and two days of deliberations, a jury in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts returned a $142 million RICO verdict against Pfizer, Warner Lambert and Parke Davis in a suit related to Pfizer's fraudulent and unlawful promotion of the drug Neurontin. The jury also found, in an advisory capacity, that defendants violated the California Unfair Competition Law. HBSS served as co-lead trial counsel for Plaintiffs Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. HBSS attorneys played a pivotal role in preparing the case for trial. Thomas Sobol, managing partner of the HBSS Boston office, examined seven economic and scientific experts and presented the evidence of defendants' decade-long campaign of fraudulent and deceptive actions in his closing argument that resulted in the RICO verdict. Post-trial briefing is underway and a final judgment has not yet been entered.
    Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, et al v. Pfizer, Inc., et al, D.Mass., Civil Action No. 04-cv-10739 (PBS).
     
  • $150 Million Resolution on Behalf of Direct Purchasers of Paxil
    HBSS announced a $150 million resolution of claims in 2004 in litigation on behalf of direct purchasers of the “blockbuster” selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor Paxil, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Corporation. The suit alleged that GSK engaged in sham litigation with respect to certain patents, all in an effort to delay competition from the entry of a generic form of the drug. HBSS served as court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel.
    In re Paxil Direct Purchaser Litigation, E.D.Pa., Civil Action No. 03-4578.
     
  • The Major First Databank Price Rollback
    On September 4, 2009, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a settlement between plaintiff health benefit plans and consumers in a class action against defendants First DataBank, Inc. (“FDB”) and Medi-Span, two leading drug pricing publishers, that resulted in a rollback of benchmark prices of some of the most common prescription medications and is saving consumers and other purchasers hundreds of millions of dollars.  The settlement stems from a 2005 class action lawsuit brought on behalf of health benefit plans and consumers against FDB and McKesson Corporation, a large pharmaceutical wholesaler.  Plaintiffs claimed that beginning in 2001, FDB and McKesson secretly agreed to raise the markup between the Wholesale Acquisition Cost (“WAC”) and the Average Wholesale Price (“AWP”) from 20 to 25 percent for more than 400 drugs, resulting in higher profits for retail pharmacies at the expense of consumers and payers.  HBSS served as court appointed lead class counsel.
    On June 6, 2007, the Honorable Patti B. Saris preliminarily approved a settlement between the parties whereby FDB agreed to roll back pricing by five basis points, from 1.25 to 1.20, on the drugs included in the lawsuit as well as hundreds of other drugs, which should create cost-savings on a much broader range of prescription medications.  Associations representing pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers fought the proposed rollback before federal trial and appellate courts, claiming either that small pharmacies would be put out of business through implementation of the rollback or that the savings to health plans and consumers would not be enough to justify the settlement.  The courts rejected these claims and the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the settlement.
    New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund et al v. First DataBank, Inc. and McKesson Corp., D.Mass., Civil Action No. 05-cv-11148-PBS; District Council 37 Health and Security Plan et al v. Medi-Span, D.Mass., Civil Action No. 07-cv-10988-PBS .
     
  • $25 Million for the State of Connecticut for Zyprexa Fraud
    On Oct. 5, 2009, Judge Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of New York, entered an Order for Entry of Final Judgment in State of Connecticut v. Eli Lilly and Co., approving the $25 million settlement reached by the parties to conclude the state’s Zyprexa litigation. HBSS served as outside counsel to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in the litigation that alleged Lilly engaged in unlawful off-label promotion of the atypical antipsychotic Zyprexa and made significant misrepresentations about Zyprexa’s safety and efficacy, resulting in millions of dollars in excess pharmaceutical costs borne by the State and its taxpayers.
    State of Connecticut v. Eli Lilly & Co., E.D.N.Y., Civil Action No. 08-cv-955-JBW.
     
  • $150 Million Settlement for Consumers and TPPs for Purchases of Lupron
    In late 2004, HBSS announced a proposed resolution on behalf of consumers and third-party payors of Lupron in the amount of $150 million. The litigation alleged widespread fraudulent marketing and sales practices against TAP Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture between Abbott Laboratories and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and followed TAP’s agreement to pay $875 million in combined criminal and civil penalties regarding marketing and sales practices for the prostate cancer drug Lupron. HBSS served as court-appointed Co-Lead and Liaison Counsel.
    In re Lupron Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, D.Mass., MDL No. 1430.