Matoesian dismisses suit against Paxil objectors

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 7, 2007, 5:00am

Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian dismissed a class action suit without prejudice filed against two lawyers and a Florida citizen who were accused of conspiring to exploit the U.S. legal system for their own personal gain.

Teri Hoormann and Mary Kopsie filed the suit in June, one month after Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn approved a $63.8 million settlement against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a case that alleged the pharmaceutical company promoted Paxil and Paxil CR to children under 18, while withholding information about Paxil's safety and effectiveness.

Hoormann and Kopsie were also the class representatives in the Paxil case.

In the newer case, Hoormann and Kopsie accused defendants who objected to the settlement, lawyers N. Albert Bacharach, Jr. and Paul S. Rothstein, and citizen Lillian Rogers, of "extortionate behavior" that has caused damages to consumers across the country, while enriching the trio and their alleged co-conspirators with millions of dollars.

Hoormann and Kopsie are represented by Stephen Swedlow of Chicago. Swedlow is one of the class attorneys in the Paxil case along with Stephen Tillery.

Hoormann and Kopsie claim Bacharach and Rothstein assisted Rogers in preparing a "frivolous" objection to the Paxil class action settlement.

Under the settlement, anyone who purchased Paxil for someone under 18 will get 100 percent of their out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed if they have proof and filed a claim by Aug. 31.

Anyone who does not have proof of purchase is still entitled to receive up to $100 if the claim is supported by an affidavit swearing that Paxil was purchased.

Hoormann and Kopsie allege the objection filed by the Florida trio was not filed in good faith and was intended to mask their wrongful threat to cause economic harm by impeding and delaying payment of the settlement unless they were paid money to which they have no lawful claim.

Hoormann and Kopsie also claim this is not the first time this group of lawyers have "abused and misused" the legal process to extort money to which they have no lawful claim.

They claim the defendants are part of an enterprise that consists of themselves, other "objector" attorneys and other people who serve as objectors in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Hoormann and Kopsie claim the three lawyers maintain an interest in and control of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.

According to Hoormann and Kopsie, the defendants' control and participation in the enterprise is necessary for the successful operation of their scheme.

They have one year from the date of Matoesian's order, Aug. 24, to re-file their complaint.

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