Business of Law

Law firm settles Pfizer case, pays bills and emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy


In an unusual move, a Portland, Ore., law firm has been able to pay its bills and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after setting a big case.

The same prolonged legal battle with Pfizer Inc. that forced Williams Love O’Leary & Powers to file for bankruptcy in 2011 also resulted in a settlement sufficient to pay its bills, although exact terms of the settlement reached last year are confidential, reports the Oregonian.

The case against the pharmaceutical giant concerned 500 women who said they developed cancer as a result of hormone replacement therapy. Pursuing Pfizer cost the law firm some $3 million, the newspaper says.

Attorney Albert Kennedy of Tonkon Torp represented the Williams firm and says emerging intact from a Chapter 11 filing with all bills paid is unheard of for a law firm.

“What usually happens is Chapter 11 is almost always used to facilitate an orderly liquidation of the firm,” he tells the newspaper, praising the partners for their dedication to Williams Love. “The biggest single key,” said Kennedy, “was the commitment of the partners to stay together and make this work.”

An earlier Oregonian story provides additional details about the bankruptcy.

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