Whistleblower Beverly Brown has received a award of more than $78 million for her efforts in obtaining a $280 million False Claims Act settlement against Celgene Corporation. The reward and settlement amounts are among the largest ever to date.y. The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to bring suit in the name of the government against individuals or entities that caused the fraudulent or improper expenditure of government funds. If the case is successful, the relators receive a portion of the government’s recovery, known as a “relator share.”
Beverly Brown is a former Celgene sales representative who filed suit against Celgene saying that the company illegally promoted two of its drugs – Thalomid and Revlimid – for uses that were not approved by the FDA and also that Celgene paid illegal kickbacks to healthcare providers and others to increase the sales of its drugs. After the suit was filed, the case remained under seal for four years while the government investigated.
The case was then heavily litigated including a review of millions of documents, numerous discovery motions, 40 fact and expert depositions, and dozens of pre-trial motions.
Brown negotiated the $280 million settlement with Celgene after the trial court denied Celgene’s motion for summary judgment as to Brown’s off-label promotion claims and set the case for trial. Celgene paid most of the settlement amount ($259,269,640) to the federal government, and paid the balance to the state and municipal plaintiffs.
Under the False Claims Act, Brown was entitled to between 25 percent and 30 percent of the settlement amount. After the federal government offered Brown only the statutory minimum 25 percent, she filed a motion with the court asking the judge to determine the relator share percentage. The court ruled that the extensive efforts by Brown and her counsel to bring the case to a successful resolution warranted a 28 percent relator share, resulting in a relator share payment $72,595,499.20.
Brown previously received a negotiated $5,475,551.15 relator share award on the portion of the settlement paid to the state and municipal plaintiffs, making her total relator share award for the Celgene lawsuit $78,071,050.40.
Bienert, Miller & Katzman, PLC (“BMK”), represented Brown.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers but not in this case.