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Physician Specialty Pharmacy, LLC v. Prime Therapeutics, LLC

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

December 19, 2019

Physician Specialty Pharmacy, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Prime Therapeutics, LLC, Defendant.

          Adrienne Dresevic and Robert Dindoffer, The Health Law Partners and Elizabeth R. Odette, Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, Counsel for Plaintiff.

          Christine Lindblad and Ellie J. Barragry, Fox Rothschild LLP, Counsel for Defendant. This matter is before the Court on Defendant Prime Therapeutics, LLC's (“Prime”) motion for attorney's fees and costs. Plaintiff Physician Specialty Pharmacy, LLC (“PSP”) opposes the motion.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Michael J. Davis United States District Judge

         I. Background

         PSP is a specialty pharmacy located in Florida that had a substantial number of customers in Alabama. Prime is a pharmacy benefits manager (“PBM”) that manages the prescription drug benefits for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. For several years, PSP filled prescription claims for Prime's beneficiaries, but in December 2015, Prime began to conduct a series of audits concerning PSP's claims to Prime for payment. While the audits were conducted, Prime refused to pay PSP for any prescriptions it dispensed to a Prime member.

         On May 16, 2016, Prime terminated PSP from its pharmacy network.

         In April 2017, Prime announced the creation of AllianceRx; a joint venture with Walgreens to provide specialty and mail-order pharmacy services.

         In April 2018, PSP brought this action against Prime. Counts I through XV assert claims under Minnesota and Florida law. Count XVI asserts a number of antitrust violations under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and Sections 3 and 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.

         By Order dated September 18, 2019, this Court adopted the recommendations of the Magistrate Judge and dismissed the antitrust claims with prejudice and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. PSP has refiled its state law claims in Florida state court.

         II. Motion for Attorney's Fees

         Prime moves this Court for an award of attorney's fees and costs incurred defending against the antitrust claims that have been dismissed with prejudice. Prime asserts it is entitled to such an award pursuant to the Pharmacy Participation Agreement (“PPA”) that Prime asserts governed the relationship between the parties.

         Section 9.10.1 of the PPA provides “In any legal action between the parties hereto arising out of this Agreement, the prevailing party, if one exists, shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, including reasonable expert witness fees, in addition to any other remedies.” (Lindblad Aff., Ex. 8 (PPA at 15).) It is Prime's position that because it prevailed with respect to the antitrust claims, and that the antitrust claims arose out of the PPA, it is entitled to those fees and costs attributable to defending those claims.

         Based on the submissions of counsel and the record herein, the Court finds that Prime has not demonstrated that it is entitled to the requested attorney's fees and cost.

         The PPA was executed by Prime and TriNet Pharmacy NCPDP (“TriNet”) on November 30, 2007. TriNet is a pharmacy services administrative organization (“PSAO”) and executed the PPA “on behalf of itself and its Participating Pharmacies, as defined herein. . . . and sets forth the terms and conditions under which [TriNet] and Participating Pharmacies will provide Prescription Drug Services and other services in ...


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