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Vioxx settlement roundup

* The provision requiring lawyers representing some settling clients to push the settlement on others, and to withdraw representation from those who don't go along, continues to spur much controversy, as at WSJ law blog and Legal Ethics Blog (John Steele).

* Judges pressed for settlement (Star-Ledger via Pharmalot);

* Joseph Nocera in the Times:

There are many problems with viewing product liability lawsuits as a means to right wrongs, which is how we see them in this country. They often make lawyers rich while the people who say they were hurt wind up with very little. The legal system gives corporations zero incentive to step forward if there is evidence that a drug might have a harmful side effect � because, after all, they�ll get sued as soon as they make such an admission. Third, even the smartest lawyers aren�t the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with making decisions about which drugs should be allowed on the market and how their risks should be disclosed. Mass torts have become a rogue form of regulation, and not necessarily in the public interest. And finally, when you get right down to it, litigation is a crapshoot, and it can be cruelly unfair.

Brad DeLong takes an opposing view, and elsewhere somewhat cryptically endorses "the comprehensive socialization of product liability risk".

* Class-action securities lawyers are hoping their payday from Merck will come soon.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.