After four weeks of trial in 80th District Judge Larry Weiman’s Houston court, defendants Haynes and Boone and partner Patrick Hughes settled a suit filed by a former client who sought damages for alleged negligence, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty.
Fred Hagans, a Houston attorney who represents plaintiffs RX.com and its founder Joe S. Rosson, says terms of the settlement are confidential. He says the parties in RX.com Inc., et al. v. John M. O’Quinn & Associates, et al. announced the settlement in court on Sept. 10. A hearing to enter judgment is scheduled for Oct. 5.
Defense attorney David Beck, a partner in Beck, Redden & Secrest in Houston, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Speaking on behalf of the firm and Hughes, Haynes and Boone Dallas partner Stacy Brainin, general counsel for the firm, writes in a statement: “The firm is pleased that after four weeks of trial the parties agreed that it was in their respective best interests to settle their dispute.”
Hagans, a partner in Hagans, Burdine, Montgomery & Rustay, represents the plaintiffs along with Joe Jamail, of Jamail & Kolius in Houston.
In their April 4 second amended petition, online pharmacy RX.com and Rosson alleged they hired the defendants in 2003 to file antitrust litigation in federal court against pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The plaintiffs alleged the defendants “delayed the filing of the litigation” until October 2004, but they “reassured” the plaintiffs that the statute of limitations was not a problem. However, in 2008 U.S. District Judge David Folsom of the Eastern District of Texas granted summary judgment in the antitrust litigation in favor of the PBMs “on the basis of limitations.”
In their June 1 third amended answer, Haynes and Boone and Hughes denied the allegations, and among other affirmative defenses, alleged the plaintiffs’ claims against them were barred by lack of privity. The defendants sought a take-nothing judgment.
Hagans alleges actual damages totaled about $118 million, which was the value of Austin-based RX.com at the time the alleged antitrust violations occurred, but he says those damages would have been trebled under antitrust law.
In June, the plaintiffs in RX.com settled with other defendants who then were dismissed from the suit. Those defendants are John M. O’Quinn & Associates, which does business as The O’Quinn Law Firm in Houston; John M. O’Quinn & Associates; O’Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle; and Laminack, Pirtle & Martines and its partners Richard N. Laminack and Thomas W. Pirtle.
Pirtle, speaking on behalf of himself, Laminack and their firm, said in August, “We didn’t pay any money.” Craig Smyser, a partner in Houston’s Smyser, Kaplan & Veselka who represented the O’Quinn defendants, also declined to discuss terms “other than to say they were a satisfactory conclusion.”
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys