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Hanly Conroy Announces Settlement of Contingent Fee Antitrust Lawsuit

NEW YORK, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP of New York City, today announced the resolution of their client Synergetics USA, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SURG) antitrust lawsuit pending against Alcon Laboratories, Inc., and Alcon, Inc.  Synergetics announced on April 27, 2010, that it had entered into a Settlement and Licensing Agreement and a Supply Agreement with Alcon, pursuant to which all litigation between the companies would be settled and Alcon would receive a license to sell certain Synergetics-patented products.  Alcon will pay Synergetics $32 million in the arrangement.

A team of lawyers from Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP represented Synergetics in the antitrust litigation.  In a unique approach to commercial litigation, the firm took on the high-risk litigation under a contingency fee arrangement, whereby Synergetics would pay attorney fees only as a percentage of any recovery in the case.  Traditionally, commercial litigation is pursued by outside counsel paid at ever-increasing hourly rates.  Under the contingent fee agreement, Synergetics will pay its outside counsel $10.5 million.

According to Hanly Conroy co-founder Paul Hanly, this arrangement reflects the increasing comfort level of corporate general counsels in using plaintiff-only contingent fee attorneys to pursue commercial litigation.  "Corporate general counsel have finally come to understand that plaintiff contingency fee lawyers involved in complex litigation are a huge boon to cash-strapped companies: such arrangements can involve near-zero cash disbursements and the potential for huge recoveries."  Trading in Synergetics stock was reported up as much as 72 percent the day after the announcement.

Synergetics and Alcon compete in the sale of light sources and instruments and tools used in vitreoretinal surgery, a highly specialized area of ophthalmological surgery focusing on procedures in the posterior (back) portion of the eye.  Surgeons use a primary piece of equipment known as a vitrectomy machine to perform vitreoretinal procedures.

Lawyers from Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP filed the antitrust lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in April, 2008.  The suit alleged that Alcon engaged in certain anti-competitive conduct in the market for vitreoretinal surgical equipment and supplies.  Synergetics' allegations included that Alcon used the market power enjoyed by its vitrectomy machine in an unlawful manner, forcing surgeons to purchase from Alcon the ancillary instruments, tools, and external light sources used in vitreoretinal surgeries.  Most notably, Synergetics alleged that Alcon unlawfully tied the sale of its fiberoptic illuminator to the sale of single-use disposable cassettes necessary to operate the Alcon vitrectomy machine.

Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP worked closely with co-counsel Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC of East Alton, Ill., The case was Synergetics USA, Inc. v. Alcon Laboratories, Inc. and Alcon, Inc., 2008-cv-3669 (DLC).

About Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP 

Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP currently represents both individuals and corporations in a variety of complex matters. The firm strives to provide first-class, sophisticated litigation counsel to its clients, who range from individuals injured by drugs and other products and by acts of international terrorism to companies in need of strategic counsel in the prosecution or defense of national or commercial litigation. For more information, visit

SOURCE Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP
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