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Breaking: Fallon reports Vioxx settlement ethical concerns resolved

AP reports that at today's status conference, "lawyers have amended the November 2007 pact so that attorneys are directed to exercise their 'independent judgment in the best interests of each client individually before recommending enrollment in the program,'" which should resolve any remaining ethical ambiguity in the Vioxx settlement. "I'm satisfied that nothing in the agreement imposes on a lawyer any impermissible restriction on the practice of law," AP reports Judge Fallon saying. All objections have been withdrawn, though it is unclear whether that includes the pending Fifth Circuit appeal. I'll have more on the "tweaking" once I can evaluate it. The parties have reported that 57,167 plaintiffs have registered, and, so far, over 3000 of those have enrolled. The first enrollment deadline is February 29. Reuters has a short piece on today's hearing, also, and Pharmalot also repeats the AP account.

Update: I have posted the amendments which are, indeed, tweaks that accomplish the same end-result as the original settlement without running afoul of requirements that attorneys exercise their own individual judgment. The critical portion is Section 1.2.2, which modifies Section of the original agreement. The other major change is that Judge Fallon has agreed to serve as the Chief Administrator.

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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.