PointofLaw.com
 Subscribe Subscribe   Find us on Twitter Follow POL on Twitter  
   
 
   

 

 

Did Merck settle too generously?



The drug company's stunning victory yesterday in two Vioxx appeals has led to speculation that it may have been too generous in reaching a $4.85 billion settlement with many other claimants last November. But the WSJ law blog talks to Kirkland & Ellis product liability specialist David Bernick, who emphatically disagrees:

Bernick explained that at the time Merck made the settlement, it was staring down a flood of cases nearing trial that threatened to overwhelm the company. "At that point, there was a shared incentive to reach a global deal," he says. For that reason, says Bernick, "you can't look at a track record that precedes or follows a settlement because it doesn't capture the dynamic facing a company at that point, which is that it won't be able to defend itself" against an onslaught of cases.

Shorter version: when it comes to mass torts and their settlement value, quantity is its own kind of quality. Can anyone still be confident that such a system yields optimal incentives for either defendants or the lawyers suing them? More: Jane Genova has some interesting thoughts from another defense attorney, this one anonymous.

Related Entries:

 

 


Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.