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United States v. Stevens
United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Criminal Action: RWT-10-694 (2011)
Lauren Stevens (defendant) was the associate general counsel of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical company. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated GSK for illegally promoting Wellbutrin—a medication used to treat depression—for weight loss, an unapproved use. Stevens responded to the FDA’s inquiries in consultation with an outside law firm, King & Spaulding. During the FDA’s investigation into GSK, Stevens turned over three slide decks related to GSK’s off-label marketing of Wellbutrin, despite having 28 relevant slide decks. Stevens prepared a spreadsheet with information about GSK that was requested by the FDA and, after consulting with King & Spaulding, deleted some information that was not explicitly requested by the FDA. Stevens also represented that GSK did not promote off-label uses of Wellbutrin or compensate speakers at educational events that promoted off-label uses of Wellbutrin, despite evidence suggesting otherwise. The United States government (plaintiff) charged Stevens with obstructing justice by making misrepresentations and covering up information related to the FDA’s investigation into GSK. Though much of the information that the government obtained would have normally been protected under the attorney-client privilege, the government received an order from a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland under the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. Stevens filed a motion under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 to dismiss the indictment, arguing that she provided GSK with lawful legal representation and did not obstruct justice or help GSK perpetuate a crime.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Titus, J.)
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