DOYLESTOWN >> Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan on Jan. 11 filed a motion to appoint the Bucks County Employees Retirement Fund as the lead plaintiff in a federal securities class action litigation on behalf of investors of Malvern-based pharmaceutical giant Endo International plc.
The lawsuit, which is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before Judge Michael M. Baylson, alleges that Endo committed securities fraud by engaging in inherently risky and unstable generic drug pricing practices and failing to disclose those practices, and other key information, to investors.
As a result of Endo’s alleged wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of Endo’s securities, class members suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and damages.
According to the motion, the Bucks County Employees Retirement Fund’s estimated losses of $800,000 were the largest of all the plaintiffs.
“Bucks County has a significant interest in holding Endo accountable for the harm that their generic drug pricing practices caused to the retirement fund, our fellow shareholders, and the community as a whole," said County Controller Neale Dougherty, who serves as secretary of the Bucks County Employees Retirement System Board.
According to Khan, the board seized the opportunity to seek lead plaintiff status when it became clear that the plaintiffs needed new leadership in order to be certified for a class action. “Given our losses, the venue in Eastern Pennsylvania, and the board’s commitment to combatting fraud, Bucks is the natural choice to lead this fight,” he said.
The securities class action by the retirement fund follows an earlier lawsuit filed on behalf of the County of Bucks against related Endo entities and other pharmaceutical companies for their alleged misconduct in creating a nationwide opioid epidemic. That litigation is pending in Pennsylvania state court.
Bucks County Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, who serves as chair of the retirement board, added, “The fund will not hesitate to step in where needed to assist in the recovery of funds lost due to false and misleading conduct, especially when it involves a repeat offender like Endo, a company that has been repeatedly investigated and sued for its role in generic drug price-fixing as well as its direct involvement in marketing and selling opioids in Bucks County and nationwide.”
The board, which is also composed of County Commissioners Bob Harvie and Gene DiGirolamo, and Treasurer Kris Ballerini, unanimously authorized the litigation in executive session on Jan. 4 and Judge Baylson authorized the filing of the lead plaintiff motion on Jan. 7.
A copy of the motion, which Khan filed with the assistance of outside counsel Saxton & Stump and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/yxl7oz7n