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U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds AstraZeneca AWP Settlement
Date:11/20/2009

BOSTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld an earlier District Court ruling yesterday, approving a settlement in the long-running Average Wholesale Price (AWP) pharmaceutical litigation against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals ( AZN).

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080317/AQM144LOGO)

The ruling affirms a settlement that awarded consumers who purchased the pharmaceutical giant's prostate cancer drug Zoladex treble damages, a rare if not unprecedented event in consumer litigation.

The case, argued by Steve W. Berman a Seattle plaintiff's attorney with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (HBSS), afforded thousands of consumers access to a $24 million settlement against the drug giant accused of manipulating the price of Zoladex.

Under the settlement approved by the U.S. District Court in November 2007, any consumer who could provide reasonable documentation can receive three times the actual damages. Any funds left over from the $24 million settlement would go to non-profit organizations. Experts representing the plaintiffs expect that only about $21 million will be claimed by class members, many of whom have passed away since the case was filed.

The distribution to charities falls under a legal doctrine cy pre, a Norman French expression for "as near as it comes," allowing for the unclaimed amount of the settlement to benefit those in the class, even if indirectly.

This is the first time the First Circuit has affirmed the use of cy pre in this way.

The ruling was in response to an appeal filed by a class member who objected to the settlement, claiming the cy pre fund lowered the amount of recovery to class members. The objecting claimant also argu
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SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
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