BD ordered to fork over $113.5M in antitrust verdict

A Texas jury ordered Becton Dickinson ($BDX) to pay Retractable Technologies ($RVP) more than $113 million in compensation to resolve a 6-year antitrust battle involving safety syringes and other products.

The final award could climb as much as three times higher under the federal antitrust statute. Jeffrey Sherman, Becton Dickinson's senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement that the New Jersey devicemaker specializing in medical instruments and reagents "will file an appeal at the earliest opportunity."

Retractable, a Little Elm, TX, maker of syringe, blood collection and IV catheter devices, said in a statement that the verdict "vindicates" its claim that "industry giant" Becton Dickinson tried keep a monopoly in the safety syringe market through "false advertising," as stipulated by the Lanham Act. The Tyler, TX, jury awarded Retractable $113.5 million in compensatory damages.

Becton Dickinson called the jury's decision "a mixed verdict." The company noted the jury's "unfavorable" verdict regarding Retractable's Lanham Act claim. But Becton Dickinson also pointed out that the jury rejected Retractable's broader claims of monopoly against Becton Dickinson regarding safety syringes, conventional syringes and safety IV catheters. The jury also didn't buy Retractable's claims for contractual restraint of trade and exclusive dealing for any of the three product classes, Becton Dickinson noted.

Still, the jury verdict will hurt. Becton Dickinson will record a $340 million pretax charge ($211 million after taxes, and approximately $1.06 per diluted share) in its 2013 fourth quarter results as a result of the outcome. Becton Dickinson said its guidance for the rest of the year remains otherwise unaffected.

- here's Retractable Technology's release
- check out Becton Dickson's full statement