This course will provide a practical examination of how a major company manages mass tort litigation. Led by the former General Counsel and Business Unit Lead for Consumer Healthcare of Pfizer, the class will study how Pfizer faced the legal and business problems associated with Celebrex and Bextra, two of its non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (“NSAIDs”), in a holistic manner, with an emphasis on the role that in-house and outside lawyers play in helping a company navigate a thicket of complex legal and business decisions.
The class will be structured around a series of real-world, hands-on exercises in which students will simulate some of the critical turning points in the litigations, including the advice lawyers at Pfizer provided and the decisions they made in the wake of the Vioxx withdrawal, the strategies and discovery the lawyers for each side pursue in product liability and other litigations in preparation for trial, and how the parties resolve these litigations. The exercises will teach students how courts manage and adjudicate complex litigation; how lawyers strategically promote their clients’ interests at each stage of the litigation; and how lawyers advise clients in the face of ongoing litigation that impacts business decisions. We aim to provide a practical education in how in-house and outside lawyers balance competing demands in quickly evolving and challenging environments, both before litigation commences and as litigation unfolds.
In addition to learning from the perspective of Pfizer’s former General Counsel and one of her outside lawyers who helped run the litigation on a day-to-day basis, participants also will hear from a number of guest instructors, including the special master who oversaw the Bextra and Celebrex litigation and other in-house and outside lawyers who assisted Pfizer’s General Counsel.
Civil Procedure is a pre-requisite.
Students will be evaluated based on their participation in class, particularly during the exercises. There will be no examination or paper.