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Weil Wins Dismissal of Securities Fraud Class Action Against Sanofi and Former CEO

On January 6, 2016, Weil achieved a major victory for Sanofi and its former Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Viehbacher, in a securities fraud class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  The plaintiff in the action, representing a putative class of investors in Sanofi American Depositary Shares, principally alleged that Sanofi’s public disclosures were materially misleading because they failed to disclose that growth in Sanofi’s diabetes franchise was boosted by illicit promotional activities.  In a thorough 37-page opinion, Judge P. Kevin Castel dismissed the complaint in its entirety, holding that the plaintiff failed to plead with particularity the existence of an illegal scheme, much less that Sanofi’s public disclosures were misleading or that either Sanofi or Mr. Viehbacher acted with an intent to defraud investors. 

This is Weil’s second significant securities litigation win for Sanofi in less than a year. In January 2015, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York granted in its entirety Sanofi’s motion to dismiss a securities fraud class action and a related case for securities fraud challenging statements regarding the results of Phase 3 clinical trials for the multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada and the drug’s prospects for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Judge Engelmayer’s decision is currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The Weil team included partners John Neuwirth and Joshua Amsel, counsel Stefania Venezia, and associates Melanie Conroy, Lauren Engelmyer, Corinna Provey and Gena Gonzales, all in New York.