In re Amgen Inc. Securities Litigation

Settled: Pending Court Approval

After more than nine years of litigation, Labaton Sucharow secures a $95 million settlement on behalf of injured investors.

On July 20, 2016, Labaton Sucharow, as sole court-appointed lead counsel, announced a $95 million settlement in this securities class action against global biotechnology company Amgen, Inc. and certain of its former executives. The settlement was preliminarily approved by the court on August 9, 2016 and the final settlement hearing will be held on October 25, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.

The action alleges that biotech giant Amgen and certain of its former executives made misleading statements and omissions concerning the safety and marketing of two of Amgen's flagship products, the anti-anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen.

In August of 2009, the district court granted lead plaintiff's motion to certify that the action could proceed on behalf of a class of investors damaged by Amgen's alleged fraud. Labaton Sucharow preserved that victory by securing affirmances in the Ninth Circuit and, more recently, in the United States Supreme Court. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court in February 2013 held that while securities fraud plaintiffs must prove the "materiality" of an alleged false statement at trial to prevail on the merits, plaintiffs are not required to establish materiality in order to certify a class.

The case was remanded back to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, where the Firm, on behalf of lead plaintiff, secured another important victory. On August 4, 2014, the district court largely rejected Amgen's motion to dismiss an amended complaint incorporating additional allegations of fraud, which was filed earlier in 2014.

The case is In re Amgen Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 07-cv-02536 (C.D. Cal.). Lead plaintiff is Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. The defendants are Amgen and certain of its former executives.

Background

Amgen appealed the district court's August 2009 ruling to grant lead plaintiff's motion to certify the class to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, lost, and then filed a petition requesting that the Supreme Court of the United States hear its appeal of the Ninth Circuit's decision. In June of 2012, the Supreme Court granted Amgen's petition; the parties argued the case to the Court on November 5, 2012.

On February 27, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its decision affirming the Ninth Circuit. Accordingly, the district court's original order granting class certification is allowed to stand unchanged, and the case will now proceed on behalf of a certified class. Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

The central question before the Court was primarily a question of timing—when must a securities fraud class action plaintiff who brings its case under the "fraud-on-the-market" theory establish that a defendant company's allegedly misleading statements were material to investors? The Supreme Court ruled that the materiality question ought to be answered at trial or, at the earliest, on a motion for summary judgment. The specific rule at the center of the dispute, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), states that actions that satisfy other prerequisites may proceed on behalf of a class if "questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members." Whether an allegedly false statement is or is not material does not raise the specter of "individual issues." As the Court stated, "because materiality is judged according to an objective standard, the materiality of Amgen's alleged misrepresentations and omissions is a question common to all members of the class Connecticut Retirement [lead plaintiff] would represent."

Notice of Pendency of Class Action
On December 3, 2015, a Notice of Pendency of Class Action was mailed to all class members informing them of the class action lawsuit and that the action has been certified by the court to proceed as a class action.

Submit Proof of Claim
If you purchased the publicly traded securities of Amgen during the period from April 27, 2004 through May 10, 2007, inclusive, (the "Class Period"), and were allegedly damaged thereby, you may be entitled to receive money from the proposed settlement. To be eligible for a payment, you must submit a Proof of Claim form by December 23, 2016 in accordance with the instructions set forth in the Settlement Notice.

Settlement Hearing
A Settlement Hearing will beheld on October 25, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 5, 17th Floor of the United States District Court for the Norther District of California, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102. The deadline for seeking exclusion from the class, opting back into the class, or objecting is October 4, 2016.

If you have any questions about the settlement, please contact Labaton Sucharow at settlementquestions@labaton.com or 1-888-219-6877, or contact the Administrator, Epiq, at 1-800-462-2317.