Practice Area: False Claims Act, Qui Tam, & Whistleblower

Case Status: Jury Verdict

Case Amount: $150 million

Court: United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

Berger Montague represented the two whistleblowers in this qui tam action resulting in a $150 million jury verdict. 

On June 13, 2024, a jury unanimously found Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Products, LP liable for illegal off-label promotion and marketing of two of its HIV/AIDS-treatment drugs, in violation of the federal False Claims Act and state False Claims Acts. The jury of eight unanimously agreed that Janssen was responsible for defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The jury found that Janssen caused 159,574 false claims for reimbursement to be submitted to the government for its drugs, Prezista and Intelence, and awarded single damages of $120,004,736 on the federal False Claims Act violations and $30,001,184 on the state False Claims Act violations. The False Claims Acts provide for mandatory trebling of damages and the imposition of civil penalties ranging from $5,500-$11,000 per false claim. Once finalized, the total judgment against Janssen will likely exceed $1 billion, after a final determination by the Court. This will represent one of the largest False Claims Act jury verdicts in history.

The historic jury verdict is the culmination of over a decade’s long battle against the billion-dollar pharmaceutical company Janssen. In 2012, Berger Montague, on behalf of its two whistleblower-clients, Jessica Penelow and Christine Brancaccio, filed the case of United States ex rel. Penelow v. Janssen Products, LP, Civil A. No. 12-07758. The False Claims Act allows private citizen whistleblowers (known as “Relators” under the law) to bring claims on behalf of the government when the government is defrauded. The government declined to intervene in the case. However, as is permitted under the law, Relators and their attorneys decided to litigate on their own.

In 2017, Relators defeated Janssen’s motion to dismiss (United States ex rel. Penelow v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., 2017 WL 2367050 (D.N.J. May 31, 2017)) and in 2021, its motion for summary judgment (United States ex rel. Penelow v. Janssen Products, LP, 2021 WL 6052425, *12 (D.N.J. Dec. 21, 2021)) and ultimately prevailed at trial.

If you are a whistleblower seeking representation concerning a potential qui tam / whistleblower / False Claims Act case, please contact Berger Montague.

About Berger Montague

Berger Montague is a national law firm focusing on complex civil litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States. For over half a century, Berger Montague has played lead roles in consequential, precedent-setting cases and has recovered over $60 billion for its clients and the classes they have represented. Berger Montague is headquartered in Philadelphia and has offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington.

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