PhRMA Withdraws Proposed Ballot Measure To Cap Contingency Fees for Attorneys
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on Monday announced that it will withdraw a proposed ballot initiative that would have placed a cap on attorneys' contingency fees, the Sacramento Bee reports (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 4/5).
PhRMA in February committed to spend $10 million to put three initiatives on the next statewide ballot. The measures included the contingency fee initiative, an initiative similar to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) California Rx plan and a measure that would prevent public employee unions from using member fees for political purposes (California Healthline, 3/25). The contingency fee measure would have capped trial lawyers' payments to 20% of the amount their clients were awarded.
PhRMA in a statement on Monday said, "We have decided that we will probably not pursue a contingency fee measure and have withdrawn the measure we had submitted."
The Consumer Attorneys of California, which had opposed the initiative, said in a statement that they were "very pleased that PhRMA has withdrawn the initiative."
Neither statement specified the terms of the agreement between the two groups, the Bee reports. However, according to sources from both groups, the trial lawyers have agreed not to contribute funding to defeat the two other initiatives supported by PhRMA.
According to the Bee, the agreement "defuses what could have been a battle of the campaign-finance giants in the fall if Schwarzenegger follows through on a threat to call a special election in November."
Republican political strategist Kevin Spillane said, "They backed away from mutually assured destruction. With that much money at stake for each side, going nuclear in the political theater was a lose-lose for both sides."
PhRMA plans to continue with its remaining two initiatives (Sacramento Bee, 4/5).