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Jury rules against ex-WellPoint exec in lawsuit over firing

July 26, 2017

A Marion County jury deliberated less than an hour before finding for the defense in a former WellPoint Inc. executive's long-running lawsuit alleging he was wrongly fired after testifying in a case concerning pharmaceutical pricing.

Following a two-week trial before Marion Superior Civil Division 4 Judge Cynthia Ayers, a jury early Tuesday morning returned verdicts for the company on all counts remaining in Dr. Randall C. Axelrod’s complaint. Axelrod takes nothing from the suit filed nearly nine years ago against WellPoint, now known as Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc., and drugmaker Amgen Inc.

Axelrod was removed as vice president of health care management for WellPoint’s Virginia-based east region in July 2006 and left the company the next month. He claims WellPoint asked him to sign a form stating he was resigning, and when he refused, the company withheld severance and pension benefits. Axelrod sued in 2008.

Axelrod’s suit alleged he was fired shortly after testifying for Ortho Biotech in a New Jersey federal lawsuit the company brought against Amgen that Amgen ultimately settled for $200 million. Axelrod brought suits in Virginia and Indiana that ultimately were combined in this case.

Jurors rejected Axelrod’s remaining claims of breach of contract, good faith and fair dealing, tortious interference and civil conspiracy. Still pending before Judge Ayers are Axelrod’s motions for contempt and a motion for default judgment.

Ayers previously granted summary judgment for the WellPoint on Axelrod’s complaints alleging constructive fraud and promissory estoppel.

Axelrod is represented by Betz + Blevins. Anthem and Wellpoint are represented by Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and Amgen is represented by Faegre Baker Daniels LLP and Ice Miller LLP.

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