In-House Defense Quarterly

Authors: Jaclyn M. Setili Wood Denise H. Houghton

The incidence of what legal commentators and practitioners term “parallel proceedings”— that is, consecutive or concurrent government investigations and civil litigation stemming from the same conduct—is not new. However, its increasing frequency is making it more and more prudent for both in-house counsel and outside litigators to pay particular attention to the unique problems that can arise when confronted with parallel proceedings. In the pharmaceutical and medical device context, attorneys must be prepared for the possibility that conduct that was once the subject solely of civil product liability proceedings may also become the focus of a government enforcement action. This article intends to provide a brief overview of some of the most significant considerations for counsel handling parallel proceedings and to serve as a backdrop for a more robust discussion of on-the-ground strategy and planning from the perspective of in-house counsel well versed in managing the intricacies of the relevant issues.

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