• November 25, 2019

When a U.S. federal court throws out all federal claims with prejudice in a case and then dismisses the case (which includes additional claims under state law), can “the prevailing party” bring a motion for award of attorneys’ fees (based on a contract provision) in the federal court that just threw the case out?

(“Prevailing party” is in quotes because the party obviously prevailed on the federal claim(s) but, just as obviously, did not prevail on the state law claims, which the federal court held it had no authority to address.)

All of us can appreciate that Prime Therapeutics, LLC would like to recover the $157,671.00 that it claims it had to spend on lawyers to defeat Plaintiff Physician Specialty Pharmacy’s apparently non-viable federal antitrust claim. On the other hand, it seems incongruous for Prime to argue (1) the federal court has no jurisdiction over state law claims; and (2) the federal court should award legal fees to Prime under a contract (the application and construction of which are hotly disputed).

(In case any readers have an interest in trying to navigate the labyrinth of the pharmaceutical maze, we link to the plaintiff’s second amended complaint. Knock yourself out.)

We will follow this motion with interest to see whether the U.S. District Court views the issue as clearly as we do. (Hypothetically, if the plaintiff, Physician Specialty Pharmacy, LLC, only brought an antitrust claim (and it was thrown out), would the defendant be entitled to its attorneys’ fees? (NO.))

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