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Tuesday, 2nd August

A U.S. district judge has ruled against Andrew Baker and other HLS executives in a complicated lawsuit that isn't directly related to HLS, but interesting nonetheless as we're sure they would have used the money to benefit HLS.

Summary: Andrew Baker is greedy, Mark Bibi (HLS General Counsel) is a bad lawyer!


Last month a PR firm called Hinton Communications issued a news release that tried to put a positive spin on the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Huntingdon Life Sciences' CEO Andrew Baker.

(The news release was picked up by the Guardian: www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/05/uk-businessman-accuses-quest-diagnostics)

There's an old law in the U.S. called the False Claims Act under which a private party can file a lawsuit against a company they believe is defrauding the federal government. As an incentive, people who file successful lawsuits receive a portion of any money recovered.

During the 1990s, before joining Huntingdon Life Sciences, Andrew Baker, Richard Michaelson and Mark Bibi were executives at a medical testing company called Unilab. Bibi served as Unilab's lawyer. They left Unilab in 1996, 1997 and 2000. Unilab was purchased by Quest Diagnostics in 2003.

In 2005, Andrew Baker, Richard Michaelson and Mark Bibi filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act alleging that Quest Diagnostics had committed fraud against the government (related to Medicare referrals). The suit claimed $1 billion in damages. Of course, Baker, Michaelson and Bibi weren't concerned about waste of taxpayer money. If they won the lawsuit, they could potentially be awarded as much as $300 million!

The allegations in the lawsuit were based on practices at Unilab/Quest the three men claimed to have knowledge of prior to leaving the company.

In March 2011, a judge dismissed the case, ruling that Bibi, by participating in a lawsuit against his former employer, had disclosed confidential information in violation of state ethics rules (attorney-client privilege).

Baker and Michaelson tried to convince the court to let the lawsuit continue without Bibi, but the judge said that all three men and their lawyers were tainted by the wrongly disclosed confidential information. The judge ruled that Baker, Michaelson and Bibi are disqualified from filing any future actions against Quest.

The case was under seal until recently. You can download the ruling here: http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/04062011troutman.pdf

Baker is appealing the ruling, but it must have been a huge disappointment after pursuing the case for almost seven years. This money, no doubt would have been used to help HLS financially!

Let's make greedy Baker bankrupt - close down HLS!


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