Press Release April 29, 2013

Good Wins Update

Goodwin Procter’s litigation attorneys have recently delivered key victories on a wide range of complex legal matters for clients including:

Goodwin Procter Prevails for Smith & Nephew in New York Products Liability Action

Goodwin Procter litigators recently secured a win for client Smith & Nephew, Inc. when the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss Smith & Nephew in a products liability action involving a prosthetic hip device. The court’s ruling was based on the plaintiff’s insufficient factual allegations under federal pleading standards and, specifically, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and 2009 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal. The court's decision adds to a growing body of case law dismissing insufficient and conclusory claims in a plaintiff's federal court complaint.

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Goodwin Procter Acts as Lead Counsel in Countrywide RMBS Litigation

Bank of America announced in April 2013 that a $500 million settlement in principle was reached in class action litigation regarding residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) issued by subsidiaries of Countrywide Financial Corporation. The securities, with an initial principal balance exceeding $350 billion, were issued prior to Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide in 2008. The settlement resolves claims concerning a total of 429 RMBS offerings and is subject to final court approval. Goodwin has represented Countrywide in several matters related to the litigation since the first suit was filed in November 2007.

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Goodwin Procter Appellate Victory Allows Entergy to Continue Operating Massachusetts Power Plant

Goodwin Procter attorneys achieved a significant victory for client Entergy Corporation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in late February 2013. The court unanimously rejected a challenge to Entergy’s 20-year renewal license to operate the Pilgrim nuclear power station in Plymouth, MA brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Massachusetts argued that the Pilgrim Environmental Impact Statement submitted in 2007, as part of the license renewal process, needed to be supplemented following the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan that resulted in the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. Following arguments, the court found that the state failed to show that the Fukushima accident suggested a greater risk of accidents at Pilgrim than the NRC had already taken into account. The decision resolved all federal challenges to Entergy’s operation of Pilgrim.

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Goodwin Procter Prevails for Teva Pharmaceuticals Before U.S. Court of Appeals, Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Related Case

Goodwin attorneys achieved a significant victory on behalf of client Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. when the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a judgment on the pleadings for Teva in a products liability appeal involving the prescription drug metoclopramide. The plaintiff alleged she developed a neurological movement disorder as a result of using the drug manufactured by Teva and other generic drug manufacturers. The District Court for the Western District of Louisiana dismissed the plaintiff’s claims under the Louisiana Products Liability Act. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that all of the plaintiffs’ claims are preempted by federal law under PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing (a victory Goodwin helped achieve for Teva) and Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee.

In addition, a team of Goodwin attorneys recently filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court on a closely related preemption issue. The Supreme Court will hear argument March 19 in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, which presents the question whether state-law product-defect claims can survive preemption under Mensing.

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Goodwin Prevails in Countrywide Fraud Suit

Goodwin Procter litigators prevailed for client Countrywide Financial Corp. when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected an appeal from minority borrowers seeking class certification in a lawsuit alleging discriminatory lending practices. The court ruled in favor of Countrywide, finding that the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence to establish the commonality requirement for class certification. The only evidence in the record of a common policy was one against discrimination, and the Court concluded that providing individual decision-makers with discretion in pricing was not the type of company-wide policy that could be demonstrated on a class-wide basis.

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Goodwin Successfully Defends Pepperidge Farm in Long-Running Franchise Case

Goodwin litigation attorneys recently secured a victory for client Pepperidge Farm following a three-day bench trial before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. The ruling in favor of Pepperidge Farm ended an eight-year-old case brought by two former distributors. The plaintiffs contended that Pepperidge Farm was an unregistered franchisor under Washington’s Franchise Investment Protection Act. The court found for Pepperidge Farm on every element of the FIPA claim and dismissed the plaintiffs’ FIPA claims with prejudice and awarded Pepperidge Farm its attorneys' fees.

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Goodwin Procter Defends IBM IP Appellate Win in U.S. Supreme Court

Goodwin Procter litigators successfully defended a significant intellectual property victory on behalf of IBM in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Picture Patents LLC v. Aeropostale, Inc., involved interpretation of IBMs employee agreement regarding intellectual property rights. Summary judgment was granted and affirmed on appeal. IBM opposed Supreme Court review and cert. was denied in November 2012.

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