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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Arthritis Drugs Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Arthritis Drugs Legal News



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Vioxx MDL Judge Awards $315.3M In Fees To Core Attorney Group
NEW ORLEANS - The judge supervising the Vioxx multidistrict litigation on Oct. 19 awarded $315.3 million to the group of attorneys who conducted discovery and other work of benefit to all federal litigants (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, E.D. La.; See August 2010, Page 5). Full story on lexis.com



Merck: Consumer Plaintiffs Fail To Address Issues In Motion To Dismiss
NEW ORLEANS - Consumers who allege that they paid too much for the painkiller Vioxx because Merck & Co. allegedly hid the drug's cardiovascular risks failed to address fundamental shortcomings in their pleadings, the company says in a reply filed Sept. 27 in the multidistrict litigation (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, 2:05-md-01657, E.D. La.; See September 2010, Page 4). Full story on lexis.com



Rejected Claimant Failed To Preserve Claims, Merck Says
NEW ORLEANS - Merck & Co. opposes a former Vioxx user's motion to overturn dismissal of his claims with prejudice, arguing in a Sept. 27 brief in the multidistrict litigation that having enrolled in the settlement, the plaintiff is limited by the settlement's terms regarding any subsequent remedies (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, Danny Bell v. Merck & Co. Inc., No. 2:05-cv-1243, E.D. La.). Full story on lexis.com



Merck: Claimant's Recourse Is With Former Attorney, Not Settlement Withdrawal
NEW ORLEANS - A heart attack victim awarded $286,000 in the Merck Settlement Agreement that resolved most cardiovascular claims stemming from the company's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx may not withdraw from the settlement, Merck Sharpe & Dohme says in a Sept. 27 brief in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657; Gene Weeks v. Merck & Co. Inc., No. 2:05-cv-4578, E.D. La.; No. 10-30452, 5th Cir.; See September 2010, Page 6). Full story on lexis.com



Claims Alleging Drugs Caused Lymphoma Death Transferred To California
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Oct. 12 transferred claims that three drugs used to treat inflammatory bowel disease caused a California man's death of lymphoma to another federal court, where his parents are prosecuting similar claims (Stephen P. Wendell, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 09-3273, D. N.J.; See July 2010, Page 4). Full story on lexis.com



Calif. Appeals Court Affirms Defense Verdict In Children's Motrin Case
LOS ANGELES - A California state appeals court on Oct. 20 affirmed a defense verdict in a Children's Motrin case, saying the trial judge properly excluded an exhibit that was irrelevant and did not err by failing to give the jury a "heeding presumption" instruction (Sabrina Brierton Johnson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. B211123, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2010 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8274; See July 2008, Page 4). Full story on lexis.com



Pfizer: Plaintiffs Allege No Intentional Wrong In Suit Against Executives
NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc. directors were under no obligation to prevent wrongdoing by subordinates, the executives say in an Oct. 22 motion for summary judgment on shareholder derivative claims in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, but nevertheless took significant measures to prevent a repeat of behavior that got subsidiaries into regulatory trouble (In re Pfizer Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, No. 09-cv-7822, S.D. N.Y.; See July 2010, Page 6). Full story on lexis.com



Shareholders Have Switched Their Claims, Merck Says Upon Remand
NEWARK, N.J. - Derivative plaintiffs seeking to hold Merck & Co. directors responsible for losses stemming from the marketing of Vioxx have abandoned the position that was successful in the U.S. Supreme Court only to reassert the position that resulted in the claims being dismissed in the trial court, Merck says in a reply brief filed Sept. 17 in a New Jersey federal court (In re Merck & Co. Inc. Securities, Derivative & "ERISA" Litigation, MDL No. 1658 [SRC], No. 3:05-CV-01151-SRC-MAS and No. 3:05-CV-02367-SRC-MAS, D. N.J.; See August 2010, Page 10). Full story on lexis.com



Vioxx Consumers Say Merck 'Feigns Ignorance' Over Economic Claims
NEW ORLEANS - Consumers who allege that they paid too much for the painkiller Vioxx oppose a motion by Merck & Co. Inc. in the multidistrict litigation to dismiss a putative master class for purchase price claims, saying in an Aug. 23 brief that after years of litigation and several settlements, Merck "knows everything there is to know" about the claims but "feigns ignorance" of them (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, 2:05-md-01657, E.D. La.; See July 2010, Page 10). Full story on lexis.com



Vioxx Law Firms Argue No Jurisdiction For Insurers' Attack On Settlement Benefits
NEW ORLEANS - The Vioxx multidistrict litigation court does not have jurisdiction over a group of health plans' attempt to enjoin distribution of payments from the $4.85 billion settlement stemming from litigation over Merck & Co. Inc.'s painkiller Vioxx until they can be reimbursed for benefits provided to participants, 11 plaintiff law firms targeted by the companies say in a reply brief filed Sept. 9 (In re: Vioxx Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1657, AvMed, Inc., et al. v. BrownGreer, PLC, et al., No. 08-1633, E.D. La.; See August 2010, Page 6). Full story on lexis.com



Would-Be Plaintiff Appeals Ruling That Locks Him Into Vioxx Settlement
NEW ORLEANS - A heart attack victim awarded $286,000 in the Merck Settlement Agreement (MSA) that resolved most cardiovascular claims stemming from the company's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx argues in an Aug. 9 brief to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that he was deprived of his attorney's professional judgment by the settlement's requirement that attorneys urge enrollment to all of their clients (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657; Gene Weeks v. Merck & Co. Inc., No. 2:05-cv-4578, E.D. La., No. 10-30452, 5th Cir.; See April 2010, Page 11, and related story this issue). Full story on lexis.com



Attorneys Spar Over Fee Stemming From Vioxx Settlement
NEW ORLEANS - The current and former attorneys for a heart attack victim awarded $286,000 in the Merck Settlement Agreement (MSA) that resolved most cardiovascular claims stemming from the company's withdrawn painkiller continue to battle over who deserves attorney fees for the result, now sparring over whether one of them skipped a court-ordered conference (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657; Gene Weeks v. Merck & Co. Inc., No. 2:05-cv-4578, E.D. La.; See April 2010, Page 10). Full story on lexis.com



N.H. Jury Awards Woman $21 Million, Finds Pain Reliever Caused Blindness
CONCORD, N.H. - A federal jury in New Hampshire on Sept. 8 awarded $21 million to a woman who claims that her use of a generic version of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug Clinoril caused her to suffer Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and permanent injuries, including blindness (Karen L. Bartlett v. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., et al., No. 08-358, D. N.H.). Full story on lexis.com



Motrin Death Claim Out After Plaintiffs Concede Claims Fall To New Texas Case Law
DALLAS - Plaintiffs in a Motrin death case whose claims of design defect and breach of implied warranty survived preemption lost their case on summary judgment Aug. 24 after conceding that intervening Texas case law left him without sufficient evidence (Christopher Tyler Lofton, et al. v. McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, et al., No. 05-1531, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.; See August 2005, Page 17). Full story on lexis.com



7th Circuit Affirms Striking Of $3.5M Motrin Verdict For Contributory Negligence
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 11 affirmed the striking of a $3.5 million Children's Motrin verdict by the application of Virginia's complete defense of contributory negligence (Karen Robinson, et al. v. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, et al., No. 09-4011, 7th Cir.; See September 2009, Page 14). Full story on lexis.com



Lung Disease Plaintiff Says Learned Intermediary Requires Adequate Warning
CLEVELAND - A drug manufacturer may not assert the learned intermediary as a defense when it has not warned of the injury asserted, a plaintiff who alleges that Remicade caused noninfectious interstitial lung disease (NILS) says in a July 30 brief in Ohio federal court opposing dismissal (Anthony DeGidio v. Centocor, Inc., et al., No. 3:09-cv-721, N.D. Ohio.; See July 2009, Page 10). Full story on lexis.com



Colorado Taxpayer Ruled To Have No Standing To Sue On Behalf Of State
NEW ORLEANS - A Colorado taxpayer does not have standing to sue Merck & Co. Inc. on behalf of the state to recover Medicaid reimbursements for Vioxx, the judge supervising the multidistrict litigation ruled July 26 (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, James Franklin on behalf of the State of Colorado v. Merck & Co. Inc., No. 07-2073, E.D. La.). Full story on lexis.com



Common Benefit Request Would Further Reduce Plaintiff Attorney Fees
NEW ORLEANS - Counsel representing former Vioxx users participating in the $4.85 billion Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) would see their fees further reduced from the multidistrict litigation judge's 32 percent cap to 24.5 percent to fund a 7.5 percent common benefit fee request the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) makes in a July 30 petition (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, E.D. La.). Full story on lexis.com



Vioxx Law Firms Reject Insurers' Attack On Settlement Benefits
NEW ORLEANS - A group of ERISA health plans' attempt to enjoin distribution of payments from the $4.85 billion settlement stemming from litigation over Merck & Co. Inc.'s painkiller Vioxx until they can be reimbursed for benefits provided to participants is untimely and legally flawed, 11 plaintiff law firms targeted by the companies say in an opposition brief filed in the multidistrict litigation on Aug. 3 (In re: Vioxx Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1657, AvMed, Inc., et al. v. BrownGreer, PLC, et al., No. 08-1633, E.D. La.; See November 2008, Page 5). Full story on lexis.com



Merck Agrees To Accept Pro Se Plaintiff's Doctor's Injury Report
NEW ORLEANS - Merck & Co. has agreed to allow the claims of a pro se plaintiff to be reinstated in Vioxx multidistrict litigation, saying in an Aug. 10 joint motion that the plaintiff had a statement from her physician that would have satisfied discovery requirements but failed to file it due to inadvertence (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, Elena Strujan v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., No. 07-906, E.D. La.) Full story on lexis.com



5th Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc For Vioxx Settlement Objectors
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied en banc rehearing to an attorney who has mounted several unsuccessful challenges to the Vioxx national settlement and the multidistrict litigation judge's discovery orders, saying in an Aug. 19 per curiam, boilerplate order that "[n]o member of the panel nor judge in regular active service of the court . . . requested that the court be polled on Rehearing En Banc" (In Re: VIOXX Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1657, E.D. La., Glenn L. Dier, et al. v. Merck & Co. Inc., No. 09-30446, 5th Cir.; See July 2010, Page 11). Full story on lexis.com



Merck Shareholders Say Merck's Conduct Shows Scienter Regarding Vioxx
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Merck & Co. knew that Vioxx posed cardiovascular risks as early as 1998 and took a variety of steps to blunt the impact of unfavorable studies and to neutralize critics, derivative plaintiffs say in an Aug. 8 opposition to dismissal in New Jersey federal court in a case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court (In re Merck & Co. Inc. Securities, Derivative & "ERISA" Litigation, MDL No. 1658 [SRC], No. 3:05-CV-01151-SRC-MAS and No. 3:05-CV-02367-SRC-MAS). Full story on lexis.com



Magistrate Sets Trial For Early 2012 In Drug-Related Pfizer Securities Litigation
NEW YORK - Trial is set for early 2012 in securities litigation stemming from Pfizer Inc.'s marketing of painkillers Bextra and Celebrex, according to the pretrial schedule set in an Aug. 20 order by a U.S. magistrate judge in New York (In re Pfizer Inc. Securities Litigation, MDL No. 1688, No. 04-9866, S.D. N.Y.). Full story on lexis.com



Maine's Punitives Law Applied To Children's Motrin Claims Pending In Pa. Court
PHILADELPHIA - In a ruling dated July 30 but posted Aug. 3, a Pennsylvania federal judge applied Pennsylvania law to all but the punitive and comparative damage claims of a woman allegedly injured by Children's Motrin, applying instead the more strict standard of Maine, where the injury took place 14 years ago (Kiley Wolfe v. McNeil-PPC, Inc., et al., No. 07-348, E.D. Pa.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77604). Full story on lexis.com