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Vioxx litigation update, February 21

  • New Jersey got around to issuing its own put-up-or-shut-up order to plaintiffs opting out of the settlement, requiring expert reports demonstrating causation to be filed by this summer, and threatening dismissal of any cases without such expert reports.
  • Chris Seeger (Seeger & Weiss, PSC), Howard Erichson (Seton Hall), and Kathleen O'Connor (Dechert) will discuss the Vioxx settlement at an event at Cardozo March 11, "The Vioxx Story: Mass Settlements Without Class Actions."
  • A court in Saskatchewan has certified a personal-injury class action against Merck over Vioxx, something no American court would do. The Canadian Merck affiliate has said it will appeal. The opinion does not appear to be online.
  • The only substantive matter on the agenda in today's hearing at the MDL was the motion of Florida plaintiffs to modify the settlement to include them. No press reports have yet come from New Orleans on what has happened today. (Update, Feb. 22: AP reports Brown & Greer reports 30,000 people have enrolled in the settlement so far; the Feb. 29 enrollment deadline has been split into two parts to ease processing of the packages of medical data—the Jeffrey Lowe group had filed a motion saying they were unable to process their thousands of clients by March 30.)
  • Daniel Fisher has a good piece in the March 10 Forbes on the upcoming preemption cases in the Supreme Court, noting that the failure of courts to recognize preemption defenses was in large part responsible for Merck being forced to settle Vioxx litigation for $4.85 billion, notwithstanding the existence of cardiovascular risk warnings on the label.

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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.