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Maine ordered to pay nearly $700,000 for 2007 law found to be unconstitutional

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AUGUSTA – On September 28, 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Maine ordered the State of Maine to pay $678,189.64 in attorney’s fees as a result of IMS v. Rowe. The case involved an “Act To Amend the Prescription Privacy Law” passed in 2007, under the former Baldacci Administration, which subsequently the Courts found to be unconstitutional.

“An Act To Amend the Prescription Privacy Law” prohibited prescription information records which contain patient or prescriber-identifiable data from being used for most commercial purposes. The law was modeled after similar laws in New Hampshire and Vermont. Before the Legislature passed the Maine version, New Hampshire’s version had already been declared unconstitutional by their district court.

Ultimately, in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., the United States Supreme Court struck down the Vermont version of the law, citing First Amendment concerns. With that precedent, Maine’s law was also struck down and the court required Maine to pay the attorney’s fees of the law’s challengers. That amount, $678,189.64, was paid late last week in advance of an October 28, 2012 deadline.

Today, Governor Paul R. LePage commented on the consequences of this statute. “This bad law has left Maine taxpayers to foot the bill and they should know about it. In 2007, legislators should have been fully aware that this law had already been found unconstitutional,” said Governor LePage. “The bad decision-making of the past is catching up to us and those responsible for this major cost should be held accountable.”

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson was the editor of The Maine Wire from 2013 through 2014. A native of Dexter, Maine, Robinson is a graduate of Bowdoin College, and is currently a Producer for The Howie Carr Show in Boston.

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