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Cary's Corner Back in the Saddle Again

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 01:01pm

The rumors are true: I am back at Lockhart Gardner after nearly two years away. In some ways, it feels like I never left, though there are noticeable changes here at LG. The loss of name partner Will Gardner, out on suspension and scheduled to be reinstated shortly, is the most notable and has caused ripple effects throughout the firm – tension among the other partners, the recent naming of Howard Lyman to name partner, and last but not least, the Veriscene case. LOC Pharmaceuticals, the makers of the acne drug Veriscene, and their insurer have employed litigators Patti Nyholm and Louis Canning to sue LG for fraud and malicious prosecution. Nyholm and Canning have both faced off against LG a number of times, but never together. LG has argued several successful class action lawsuits against LOC and won, including the recent Veriscene case. By suing LG, LOC aims to turn the tables. This lawsuit is part of the growing trend of businesses fighting back against class actions. In the 1990s, a number of tort cases resulted in eye-popping jury verdicts. Businesses forced to pay out millions responded in a number of ways to the growing number of lawsuits. One strategy has been to go after the law firms who have launched successful civil actions, in part to hamper these specific law firms from launching additional suits against them, and moreover, to have a general chilling effect on the cottage industry of class action suits. Canning and Nyholm are fierce litigators, and they seem to have an almost personal interest in bringing LG down. I'm going to sit tight for the moment, hoping that my luck this past year is changing, and I haven't just jumped onto a sinking ship. Stay tuned…