Case Study
August 22, 2016

Integrity Intact

One of the first executives to be indicted under the Anti-Kickback Statute following publication of the “Yates Memo,” the former head of a New Jersey pharmaceutical company turned to Goodwin to prepare his defense. After an almost month-long trial, the jury deliberated just three hours before returning a verdict of not guilty.

In 2015, the DOJ published the “Yates Memo,” which stressed individual accountability for corporate misconduct. In a case many saw as a test of the new focus on individuals, the federal government alleged that, between 2009 and 2012, Goodwin’s client conspired with over 100 other employees in a company-wide scheme to bribe doctors with free dinners, “goodies,” and/or speaker payments in exchange for prescribing the company’s drugs.

The Government’s investigation stretched over four years, and the client relied on us to show that little evidence of alleged wrongdoing at the company was linked to him. Pursuing a speedy trial helped prevent the Government from pressuring additional witnesses as their case fell apart.

Goodwin litigators filed motions that limited the evidence presented to the jury, including narrowing the conspiracy period to only the time of our client’s employment, thereby rendering irrelevant acts that occurred after his departure. As trial neared, the government’s conspiracy theory collapsed from company-wide to only a dozen or so employees selling one particular drug.

The acquittal in one of the first post-Yates Memo trials not only cleared our client’s good name, but also highlighted the difficulty in prosecuting individuals for a company’s felony offenses. It also demonstrated how a successful defense can be won with creative motion practice and an aggressive attack on witness credibility, especially when the defendant is largely charged with being responsible for misconduct carried out by others in a company.