Navigation Links
Special Masters Appointed in Program to Resolve U.S. VIOXX(R) Product Liability Lawsuits

Responsibilities Include Deciding Claimant Appeals

NEW YORK, March 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement is from Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Herman Herman Katz & Cotlar, LLP:

United States District Judge Eldon E. Fallon met this week with the newly appointed Special Master and Deputy Special Masters who will decide any appeals taken from the findings of the Claims Administrator permitted under the resolution program for Vioxx product liability litigation in the United States, and will conduct hearings and make findings with respect to issues of alleged fraud that may arise with respect to the program.

Judge Fallon appointed as Special Master, Patrick A. Juneau, a Louisiana lawyer who has served as a mediator in more than 2,000 cases. Judge Fallon appointed as Deputy Special Masters retired California appellate Justice John K. Trotter and retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge Marina Corodemus. The Deputy Special Masters were selected based on their respective national experience in complex litigation including mass torts, their reputations in handling the adjudication of difficult issues in mass tort litigation, and recommendations from Judge Carol Higbee, who oversees the Vioxx cases in New Jersey state court, and Judge Victoria Chaney, who oversees the Vioxx cases in California state court.

"The Special Master and Deputies are an important part of the program because they will provide review and oversight to ensure that the program is administered fairly," said Ted Mayer, of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, one of Merck's coordinating defense counsel. "The three Masters together bring broad and deep legal experience. The program will be stronger because of their participation."

"The responsibility of the Masters will be to help ensure that each plaintiff's claim is fairly considered on an individual basis," said Russ Herman, Liaison Counsel in the federal multidistrict VIOXX litigation and Chair of the Plaintiffs' Negotiating Committee. "All three of the Masters have extensive experience in mediation that makes them the right people for this assignment."

According to the Settlement Agreement, the Special Master and Deputy Special Masters are responsible for deciding any appeals from determinations by the Claims Administrator of 1) qualification of claimants for payment from the resolution fund pursuant to the objective "gates" for admission into the program and 2) individual claim valuation based on the defined criteria set forth in the Settlement Agreement. The Masters will also assign valuation scores to qualifying claimants at the basic level of valuation who reject the fixed payment offered under the program. In addition, the Masters will conduct hearings, and make findings, if any suspicion of fraud or deception by claimants or their counsel in the submission of claims surfaces during claims processing or the audits contemplated under the Agreement.

Patrick A. Juneau has served as a court-appointed Special Master in numerous federal and state cases, including product liability class actions and toxic tort litigation. He is also a charter member of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters. Mr. Juneau, who leads the Juneau Law Firm in Lafayette, Louisiana, has tried over 100 civil lawsuits to conclusion.

The Honorable John K. Trotter served as a Pro-Tem Justice of the California Supreme Court in 1983 and Presiding Justice of the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeal from 1982 until his retirement in 1987. He has since gained a reputation as one of the country's leading experts in Alternative Dispute Resolution and has worked as a Special Master in pharmaceutical litigations involving Zyprexa, Baycol, and Rezulin.

The Honorable Marina Corodemus served as a trial judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey for over a decade. During her tenure, the New Jersey Supreme Court appointed her as a Mass Tort Judge to resolve the state's most challenging class action and mass tort litigations. Since her retirement from the court, Judge Corodemus has practiced at Corodemus and Corodemus LLC in Iselin, New Jersey, where she heads the Alternative Dispute Resolution department.

Resolution Program

The resolution program for VIOXX claims in the United States, which was announced on November 9, 2007, is moving forward. Merck & Co., Inc., said on March 3, 2008, that more than 44,000 of the approximately 47,000 individuals who registered eligible injuries have submitted some or all of the materials required for enrollment that could qualify them for an interim payment in the program to resolve state and federal myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic stroke (IS) claims filed against the Company in the United States.

If all of these eligible submissions are completed in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, this would represent more than 93 percent of the eligible MI and IS claims previously registered with the program.

Currently, Merck is working with the Claims Administrator to examine the registration and enrollment materials that have been received and continue to come in for interim payments. There is a considerable amount of documentation that has to be reviewed before the definitive determination can be made that the thresholds have been met.

Merck is confident that 85% thresholds will be met and exceeded, which will obligate the Company to pay $4.85 billion into the resolution fund.

Claimants who submitted initial enrollment materials by February 29 have until March 31 to complete their enrollment for interim payments. Interim payments could begin as early as August. Eligible claimants who do not qualify for interim payments may still enroll in the resolution program if the claims were filed or tolled prior to Nov. 9, 2007 and their claims will be counted toward the participation thresholds as provided by the agreements. The current deadline for enrollment is May 1.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck and the law firms issuing this statement undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, if any, which the Company incorporates by reference.

SOURCE Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Herman Herman Katz & Cotlar,LLP
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Jefferson specialists studying innovative surgery for effectively treating sleep apnea
2. Manor Care, Inc. Announces Record Date for Special Stockholder Meeting
3. Physician Skin Care Specialist Says Proposed New Rules for Sunscreen Products Will Better Protect the Public
4. Symmetry Medical Completes Acquisition Of Specialty Surgical Instruments
5. MedHelp to Add Top Stanford Surgeons and Specialized Forums to Online Health Community
6. Mercedes-Benz Special Edition C350 Sport Sedan to Raise $1 Million for Saks Fifth Avenues KEY TO THE CURE
7. Kyphon Announces Special Meeting Date to Vote on Proposed Medtronic Merger
8. Uninsured community health center patients often have difficulty accessing specialty services
9. Especially Yours and Paula Young Team up with Diahann Carroll and Jaclyn Smith in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
10. Hologic Sets Special Meeting of Stockholders to Vote on Proposed Merger with Cytyc Corporation
11. Inspiring Authors Tell Inspirational Stories: Special Writers Find Accepting Home at
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... A team of Swiss doctors has released a report on mesothelioma ... posted the findings on the website. Click here to read the details now. ... patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP surgery. Among the 106 patients ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced ... offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers ... According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of its members are ... people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population - are infected ... HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle Li, Co-Founder of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices ... show that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated ... open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... CBD College is proud to announce that on ... accreditation to its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this ... colleges and universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  The American Academy ... Gynecologists (ACOG), and the March of Dimes cheered ... Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 (S.799), ... of newborns born exposed to drugs, such as ... bill,s introduction, all three organizations have worked together ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge ... of at least $15.8  Million to expand its ... NC . The expansion will provide additional ... the growing demands of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology ... expansion will provide up to 40,000 square feet ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... USA , Inc., a leader in ... accuracy of its blood glucose meter systems. Last week ... Cardiovascular Disease in Los Angeles , ... 01 meter and the Assure ® Prism multi-user ... measure glucose levels in blood is essential for people ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: