Pittsburgh Post-Gazette countersues Mylan

September 28, 2009

This one comes in on the wrong side of the weekend, but it’s worth some attention to people who follow the media and follow financial news: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sued pharmaceutical company Mylan on Friday — that action itself a countersuit to Mylan’s lawsuit against the paper. (Read the documents for yourself at this blog.)

Mylan Inc’s subsidiary Mylan Pharmaceuticals sued the Post-Gazette and two of its journalists in August, claiming that the daily paper and its reporters improperly obtained confidential documents and misappropriated trade secrets in the process of reporting and publishing a story on an internal company report about potential problems at Mylan’s Morgantown, West Virginia, plant. Mylan’s internal report, as the Post-Gazette reported, showed that employees had overridden computer-generated warnings about possible problems in its drug-making process.

Mylan naturally wasn’t crazy about that, prompting the lawsuit. Now, the Post-Gazette is smacking back. Here is an excerpt from its own news story:

In one filing, attorneys for the newspaper said that all of the documents used in the July 26 story were obtained lawfully.

“In sum, the Post-Gazette did nothing wrong whatsoever — not in obtaining information for publication and not in publishing.”

It further says that the newspaper’s work is entirely protected by the First Amendment.

“The Post-Gazette’s article on the content of Mylan’s internal report was meticulously accurate,” one court filing said. “Indeed, Mylan concedes as much, since the complaint contains no cause of action alleging falsity or any other alleged wrong regarding the publication.”

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the Post-Gazette accuses the company of ulterior motives, saying that it doesn’t want to hold the newspaper liable but rather find out who among its employees served as sources for the article.

It says that Mylan “undertook a feverish hunt” to find those sources to no avail.

The Post-Gazette wrote in its filing that Mylan’s effort to circumvent the Constitution “is doomed to fail.”

The Post-Gazette story also notes that lawyers for the defendants, reporters Patricia Sabatini and Len Boselovic, that none of the information that they published is a trade secret and that Mylan hasn’t suffered quantifiable damages as a result of the article.

(Reuters Photo: Pittsburgh skyline)

Mylan v PG Motion Dismiss

Answer of PG Publishing

Notice of Removal With Exhibit

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