NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville-based law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC (BS&J), announces the distribution of a cy pres award of $80,713.38 to the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC).
The award is part of a settlement from Class Action In re: Skelaxin (Metaxalone) Antitrust Litigation, for which BS&J served as lead counsel for end-payor actions. The class action was filed in 2012 on behalf of individuals and entities in 29 states who purchased the muscle relaxer Skelaxin and/or its AB-rated generic equivalents between Nov. 4, 2005, and Aug. 5, 2014. On Dec. 22, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee granted final approval of a $9 million dollar class action settlement entered into between end-payor plaintiffs and defendant Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc.
The U.S. District Court selected the TJC, a non-profit public interest law and advocacy firm serving Tennessee’s families, to receive the more than $80,000 cy pres award that remained undistributed to class members from the common fund settlement.
“In some class action cases, a portion of the settlement fund or judgment may remain unspent for various reasons,” says Joe P. Leniski, BS&J member and one of the attorneys who helped litigate the case. “Cy pres awards are used by the court to distribute these unclaimed funds and earmark them to be used for the next best compensation.
“This case represented a significant victory for individuals and entities in Tennessee and beyond who oppose prescription drug monopolies, which delay the availability of less expensive generic drugs and artificially inflate the cost of health care. We are delighted that the TJC will be able to use these cy pres funds to help indigent Tennessee citizens access healthcare and provide additional assistance to those in need throughout our state.”
The TJC works to achieve opportunity, security and dignity for all Tennesseans. They accomplish this by advancing the right to high-quality and comprehensive health coverage, ensuring that people have access to adequate nutrition, that Tennessee’s civil courts are fair and accessible, and that public programs and agencies are accountable to all members of the public.
“TJC is so grateful to be considered for and receive the cy pres award,” says TJC Executive Director Michele Johnson. “TJC is committed to using these funds to make as big of an impact as possible. The funds will allow TJC to better assist its clients in overcoming red tape to apply for and maintain healthcare and other public benefits, including prescription drug coverage. This funding comes at a wonderful time as 350,000 Tennesseans face disenrollment for health insurance due to the upcoming lifting of the Public Health Emergency.
“This will enable us to field a team to help families navigate this complex and crucial process. Previous analyses have shown that for every dollar donated to TJC, we have been able to leverage $395 in health and nutrition benefits. That would mean this investment would yield $31,881,785.10 in benefits to Tennesseans. The impact on families of this sort of investment will be immense.”
Founded in 1952, BS&J is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, with additional locations in Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Las Vegas, Nevada, along with St. Louis, Missouri. Visit www.bsjfirm.com for additional information about the firm. To obtain a full copy of the District Court’s order awarding cy pres, visit www.bsjfirm.com or call 615-254-8801.