Monday, November 7, 2011


In my last blog post, I wrote about the possible implications for False Claims Act litigation arising out of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., -- U.S. --, 131 S. Ct. 2653 (2011), suggesting that we were about to see numerous challenges to off-label and kickback theories under the First Amendment. Well, the time has come. In a case we are litigating with the State of Texas against Janssen that is set to go to trial at the end of November, Janssen recently filed a “bench brief” asking that the jury get a special instruction on Janssen’s First Amendment rights. The court is set to decide whether such an instruction is appropriate on the eve of trial, in late November. In Keeler v. Eisai, an off-label case filed in the Southern District of Florida, the defendant moved to dismiss, arguing in part that the off-label claims were barred by the First Amendment. The district court has not yet ruled on this theory. The response that plaintiffs have made in both of these cases is that the conduct at issue includes false and misleading speech; false and misleading speech is not protected by the First Amendment; and the statutes at issue therefore regulate only speech that is not entitled to First Amendment protections. As I suggested in my previous blog, this argument has strong support in the explicit language of Sorrell. We will be watching to see if the courts agree.

Loren Jacobson is a partner at Waters & Kraus, LLP, in the firm’s Dallas office. Her practice focuses on qui tam (whistleblower) cases and appellate matters.