Florida Judge Awards Nearly $31 Million in Fees For Customers in Contact Lens Price-Fixing Litigation
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On October 12, 2022, a federal judge in Florida awarded nearly $31 million in attorney expenses and fees for customers who sued Alcon Vision LLC, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., and other companies involved in the multi-district litigation. The order issued by U.S. District Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger followed a fairness hearing conducted in the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville. It alleges that the defendants conspired to fix prices for disposable contact lenses.
The judge awarded more than $29 million to attorneys representing the consumers and $1.6 million for expenses incurred during the litigation.
According to court records, the litigation stemmed from more than 100 cases dating back to 2015 following concerns raised by optometrists and ophthalmologists that vision care manufacturers J&J, Alcon and Bausch & Lomb and distributor ABB Optical Group coordinated their prices.
Two of the four companies settled first, including Bausch & Lomb, which agreed to pay $10 million in 2019, followed by ABB, which agreed to a $30.2 million settlement in 2020.
In addition, ABB agreed to pay $9.3 million in attorney fees and $1 million for future anticipated claims costs, court records show. Click here to learn more.
Court records show that Alcon and J&J were about to begin trial in March 2023 when Alcon notified the court of a settlement five days beforehand, while J&J informed the court that it settled one day before the trial was set to start. Click here to read the brief notice regarding the settlement.
Awarding Attorney's Fees and Reimbursing Expenses.
Judge Schlesinger authorized the attorneys to withdraw the fees from each of the four available settlement accounts the defendants agreed to when they resolved the litigation. Accordingly, the expense reimbursements will be withdrawn from J&J's and Alcon's settlement accounts.
Click here to view the order granting the award of attorney's fees and reimbursement of expenses.
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Minsky, David. "Customers Win $31M Fees In Contact Lens Price-Fixing MDL." Law360. (October 11, 2022). Web.
Berg, Lauren. "Alcon Reaches $20M Lens Price-Fix Deal, Leaving Only J&J." Law360. (March 24, 2020). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
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