Velez, et al. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

In this class action, 12 female plaintiffs sued Novartis, a large pharmaceutical company with a national sales force, on behalf of all the defendant’s female sales employees. They alleged gender discrimination in personnel policies which affected pay and management promotion outcomes. Among the challenged policies were the administration of a performance review system and admission to a Management Development Program, both of which were alleged to allow gender bias through subjective managerial decisions.

Louis Lanier (prior to joining Econ One) originally was retained by counsel for the plaintiffs to provide expert economic and statistical analyses regarding class certification. The class of over 5,000 female sales employees subsequently was certified and is one of the largest gender classes ever certified. After joining Econ One, Dr. Lanier again was retained by the same counsel for the merits phase of the case. He testified at trial as to the existence of gender-related statistical patterns in pay and management promotion outcomes at Novartis. The jury awarded $3.3 million in compensatory damages to the named plaintiffs and $250 million in punitive damages to the entire plaintiff class. The plaintiff class subsequently agreed to a settlement valued at $175 million.