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Update on Vioxx settlement and Michigan claimants

Earlier this year, Judge Higbee refused to dismiss the claims of 250 Michigan residents who sued in New Jersey, even after the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision in Rowe v. Hoffman-Laroche that one could not abuse choice-of-law principles to evade Michigan law by filing in New Jersey. Among the Michigan residents with pending frivolous claims who will be eligible for Merck money in the settlement: Leslie Richter, who was extensively used in television advertising against state Republicans in 2006 over the pharmaceutical immunity, and singled out by the pro-trial-lawyer thinktank Drum Major Institute as a "tort reform victim." (Kyle Mellinn, MIRS Capitol Capsule, Dec. 7 (subscription only)). The MIRS story quotes me extensively. Earlier: Nov. 27 (Michigan). Rowe isn't the only precedent Judge Higbee ignored; she also disregarded Buckman in permitting punitive damages claims to go forward against Merck in violation of New Jersey state law.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.