FTC v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., No. 12-5393 (D.C. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The FTC initiated an enforcement proceeding against Boehringer after the pharmaceutical company failed to comply with an administrative subpoena seeking various documents related to a settlement agreement between the company and Barr, a generic drug manufacturer. Boeringer subsequently certified compliance with the subpoena but withheld hundreds of responsive documents under the work product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege. Te court rejected the FTC's assertion that the district court erred as a matter of law when it concluded that settlement documents pertaining to a co-promotion agreement between Boehringer and Barr were prepared in anticipation of litigation. The court held that a settlement term may have independent economic value and still be considered part of a settlement for purposes of work product protection. The court also found that the district court reasonably concluded that the bulk of the contested co-promotion materials were prepared in anticipation of the Boehringer-Barr litigation, with a single exception pertaining to post-settlement documents. Therefore, the court generally affirmed the district court's finding on this issue but remanded for further consideration with respect to post-settlement documents. The court agreed with the FTC that the district court misapprehended the proper distinction between fact and opinion work product and reversed and remanded on this issue.