McKesson Awarded $40M in Old Iran Dairy Case

     (CN) – Iran owes the pharmaceutical giant McKesson $40 million in damages and attorneys’ fees relate to a 30-year case over an Iranian dairy, a federal judge ruled.
     McKesson Corp. sued the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1982, claiming that it had expropriated McKesson’s equity interest in an Iranian dairy after the 1979 revolution and failed to pay its dividends.
     In 2010, a federal judge in Washington awarded McKesson $43 million in damages and compound interest, but the D.C. Circuit later found that Iranian law does not permit the award of compound interest.
     On remand, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said he welcomed the opportunity to put an end to this 30-year-old “Sisyphean” case.
     Calculating simple prejudgment interest from August 12, 1981, to March 27, 2013, Leon totaled interest to be $21 million, bringing the damages award to $29 million.
     Leon also awarded McKesson $11 million in attorneys’ fees and costs to its counsel at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP.
     “Both of the experts who testified in the trial before the court agreed that Iranian law permits recovery of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses,” Leon wrote. “Indeed, Iran’s own expert, Dr. M.E. Sanaei, conceded that a prevailing party ‘could seek reimbursement of litigation costs including attorney fees.'”
     Given the case’s long litigation, the court applied a delay enhancement to the fee award, and used 2012 billing rates to calculate attorneys’ fees.
     “In the final analysis, Iran has failed to rebut the presumption that the standard billing rates Morgan Lewis and Winston & Strawn charged McKesson are reasonable,” the ruling concludes.

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