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Court Rejects Corporation’s Claim For $4,200,000 In Attorneys’ Fees

CONTACT: Bill Griffin, Chief Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5500

July 17, 2012

The Federal District Court has awarded $2,244,040 to IMS Health, Inc. for attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in a lawsuit brought to challenge Vermont’s Prescription Confidentiality Law.

IMS had requested $4,205,000 in attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs seeking rates as high as $875 per hour. IMS argued that it was entitled to recover an average rate of $377.90 per hour.

The State opposed the IMS request and argued that the fee award should be reduced to $1,480,000. The State argued that both the hourly rates and the number of hours claimed were excessive.

The Court reduced the IMS fee claim for two reasons. The Court set the fees at an average rate of $300 per hour. The Court also held that IMS could not recover fees for the 10,201 hours that it claimed. The Court allowed fees for 7,183 hours of legal services.

The Vermont Prescription Confidentiality Law restricted the sale, disclosure, and use of pharmacy records that reveal the prescribing practices of individual doctors. IMS is in the business of collecting and selling prescription data. In its lawsuit IMS argued that the Vermont Law violated its First Amendment right to engage in this business.

Although the several federal courts that considered the matter expressed different views on the First Amendment claim, a majority of the Supreme Court agreed with IMS and struck down the Vermont statute. The Supreme Court ruling allows IMS and others to sell or use prescription data for marketing purposes without the consent of the prescribing physicians.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.