Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number

2 EM 2009, 24 EAP 2009


Case Updates

Pennsylvania Supreme Court addresses government arrangements for contingent fee counsel

August 17, 2010

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Janssen Pharmaceutica did not have standing to challenge a contingent fee agreement made by Pennsylvania's state government. In September 2007, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that Section 103 of the Attorneys Act precludes Janssen's challenge. Section 103 states that “no party to an action, other than a Commonwealth agency ... shall have standing to question the authority of the legal representation of the agency.” Previously, the Court agreed with NCLC's brief urging the Court to hear the case.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief on the merits

August 11, 2009

NCLC urged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to recognize constitutional, ethical and policy limitations on government arrangements for contingent fee counsel. In September 2007, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania awarded a no-bid contract to the contingent fee law firm Bailey Perrin Bailey to sue drug manufacturers in the name of Pennsylvania citizens for the allegedly dangerous off-label use of certain prescription drugs. In its amicus brief, NCLC argued that government contracts turning over the state's enforcement power to private contingent fee attorneys are unethical. They also violate the standard of neutrality required by due process because they can lead to prosecution of government lawsuits on the basis of private profitability rather than public interest. NCLC showed that this was not an isolated incident of a state contracting out its police power to contingent fee lawyers. Rather it is the trial bar’s latest business model, and it has affected litigation in several states.

Review granted

June 30, 2009

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief urging review

February 09, 2009

Click here to view the brief.

Case Documents