Anthony Ostlund successfully and efficiently resolves complex antitrust suit in Texas federal court with mediated settlement for a nominal amount
“We are very proud of our work for UHS. We were able to successfully direct and manage an alleged $100 million plus complex, multi-million document case more efficiently and more successfully than the large, national firm which was originally retained for over a year to defend this case. More importantly, we were able to provide a timely and successful resolution to our client.” -- Norm Baer, Attorney for UHS
Our client, Universal Hospital Services Inc. (UHS), is the largest provider of medical rental equipment in the United States, and employs approximately 5,000 people. UHS, along with several other defendants, was sued in Texas federal court for alleged violation of federal antitrust laws. The suit alleged that UHS and the others were monopolizing the $450 million medical equipment rental market by unfairly controlling the market through their contracts with group purchasing organizations (GPO’s). The client was sued in the Eastern District of Texas, a venue well-known for being plaintiff-friendly.
Anthony Ostlund was first retained to evaluate and advise the client (and its insurance carriers) about the work being done on its behalf over the first year of the case by one of the largest firms in America. Millions had been charged in legal fees, only one deposition had been taken, the client was on defense before the Court, and the case had too many lawyers and not enough leadership.
Through discussions with the client about its business and its objectives for the litigation, we learned that there were significant relationships with entities that were not parties to the litigation and those relationships needed to be protected. We learned that our client’s insurers were not providing the coverage that our client had paid for. We learned that success for our client would include ending the litigation and related expenses as quickly as possible, avoiding any restrictions on our client’s future business activities, and “persuading” the insurers to make a significant contribution to the resolution as well as costs of defense. Anthony Ostlund then laid out a plan of action that involved aggressively moving the case forward, assert counter-claims, push for dismissal of claims and getting out of the defensive posture (delay and avoidance) and approach that the existing counsel had taken.
Anthony Ostlund established a team of 6 professionals who have worked efficiently and cohesively together on many complex engagements over the years. We quickly moved forward to resolve document production issues (millions of pages were produced from parties and third-parties) and brought appropriate motions when plaintiff’s counsel proved recalcitrant. Anthony Ostlund's team of 6 experienced professionals replaced the 17 lawyers in the United States and India from the prior firm who were billing time to this engagement but without strong vision and management to achieve the client’s business needs.
We assisted our client with identifying and hiring co-counsel to pursue declaratory judgment coverage actions against its insurers. Anthony Ostlund then forged ahead with counterclaims and a series of aggressive depositions from California to New York, from Florida to Michigan, and a week of depositions of the plaintiff’s officers in Pennsylvania. As our motions were granted and the facts were revealed through the documents and depositions, plaintiff and the involved carriers’ engaged in another round of mediation. The insurers finally agreed to contribute toward a settlement.
Ultimately, a confidential mediated resolution was reached with both the plaintiff and our client’s carriers for less than the remaining cost of defense, with all but the policy deductible paid by the carriers and an overall resolution that was millions less than the previous counsel had advised as a reserve for this claim. Anthony Ostlund’s team of 6 professionals – in replacing the 17 prior lawyers on this complex case – saved the client millions in litigation expense.
Freedom Medical vs. Universal Hospital Services, Inc.