Posts tagged as:

Vioxx

Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on July 13, 2012

  • How’d we get shortages of hospital and community sterile injectables? Check out the role of FDA Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regs, warning letters, and resulting plant closures [Tabarrok, with comments controversy; earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • California orthopedist sues, wins damages against medical society that took action against him based on his testimony for plaintiff in liability case [American Medical News; earlier here, etc.]
  • Can’t have that: medical apology should be opposed because it “can create an emotional connection with an injured patient that makes the patient less likely to ask for compensation.” [Gabriel Teninbaum (Suffolk Law), Boston Globe]
  • Feds’ war on painkillers is bad news for legit patients and docs [Reuters, Mike Riggs/Reason]
  • New federal pilot project in Buffalo will provide concierge-style home care to emergency-department frequent fliers. Spot the unintended consequence [White Coat]
  • Dastardly drug companies? Deconstructing Glaxo SmithKline’s $3 billion settlement [Greg Conko, MPT] More: Beck, Drug and Device Law, on suits over “what are mostly medically valid and beneficial off-label uses”. Paging Ted Frank: “HIPAA’s Vioxx toll” thesis may depend on whether one accepts that the premised Vioxx toll has been established [Stewart Baker, Ted's recent post]
  • U.K.: “Lawyers seizing lion’s share of payouts in NHS negligence cases” [Telegraph]
  • Silver linings in SCOTUS ObamaCare ruling? [Jonathan Adler and Nathaniel Stewart] “DNC Scientists Disprove Existence of Roberts’ Taxon” [Iowahawk humor] Did Ginsburg hint at the court’s direction on the HHS contraception mandate? [Ed Morrissey, Hot Air]

[cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on June 15, 2012

  • “Fla. jury awards $75M to family of dead smoker” [AP] Bad trends catch on 10+ years later up North: Quebec becomes fifth province to sue tobacco companies [Montreal Gazette] We passed a law to let us win, so there: “Manitoba sues tobacco companies” [provincial press release]
  • “Can There Be Liability When Sending Texts To A Driver?” A debate [Ray Mollica and Mark Bower, Turkewitz; earlier here and here]
  • Ted Frank vs. Ron Unz on Vioxx health effects [PoL, American Conservative]
  • Major Florida PI firm denies State Farm claims-inflation allegations [Orlando Sentinel]
  • East St. Louis, Ill.: jury awards nearly $179 million to 3 injured grain elevator workers [Post-Dispatch]
  • Siding with plaintiff’s bar, Minnesota Gov. Dayton vetoes legislation reducing state’s general statute of limitations from six years to four, reducing prejudgment interest from current 10%/year, reforming offer of settlement rules, and allowing interlocutory class certification appeal [NFIB] He does however sign one protecting state/local governments [Star-Trib]
  • Multiple asbestos claims raise eyebrows in Delaware [SE Texas Record] On trends in asbestos litigation [Ben Berkowitz, Reuters]

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November 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 22, 2011

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Merck “won the vast majority of cases that went to trial,” and the most notable case that went the other way was marred by dubious testimony and juror misconduct — none of which kept plaintiffs’ lawyers from carting home $1.5 billion-plus in fees. [Ted Frank, Examiner]

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…Garza v. Merck, ends with a whimper as the Texas Supreme Court unanimously throws it out. Ted has more at PoL.

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MDL Judge Eldon Fallon orders plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees in the $4.85 billion settlement to be capped at 32%. Hooray, right? Certainly, the trial bar is capable of arguing for itself that the ruling is wrong and it is entitled to a couple of hundred million more, but I might just have to take their side here.

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New Steve Chapman blog

by Walter Olson on June 15, 2008

My favorite syndicated columnist, based at the Chicago Tribune, started blogging last month, and has been commenting on such subjects as the Vioxx verdicts, the (possible) end of the Second Amendment debate, and imagined vs. real spending on schools.

June 7 roundup

by Ted Frank on June 7, 2008

  • Monday’s polar bear panel at AEI is a panel about the law of polar bears and the effect of the FWS decision to list them as threatened, rather than a panel featuring polar bears. So no fish will be served. Volokh’s Jonathan Adler will be there, though. [Volokh; AEI]
  • Limiting lawsuit abuses lowers costs from litigation, creates jobs in long run. [Engler & McQuillan @ Detroit News]
  • HBO to small businesses: prepositions are okay, but conjunctions will lead to injunctions. [Baltimore Sun]
  • A one-sided love letter to Cozen O’Connor in the Philadelphia Inquirer over its September 11 litigation is a bit too revealing about its deep-pocket searches: “Cozen lawyers also had to be sure that such a defendant made financial sense, for the firm and its clients.” Culpability, of course, isn’t in the equation; and the newspaper story fails to account for the public-policy implications of having trial lawyers stepping on foreign policy. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • Life imitates “The Office”: law firm offers “love contracts” for dating workers. [ABA Journal]
  • More evidence of FDA overwarning, even when the science and law does not justify it. [Kyle Sampson @ Product Liability Law 360]
  • Business tries to bully small website with litigation; small website successfully fights back. [CL&P Blog]
  • “[Ron] Paul accomplished the one thing he’s always been good at: using political appeals to get people to send money. I don’t feel freer.” [Henley via Kirkendall]
  • “It’s infuriating how all three presidential candidates prattle on about the need to fight global warming while also complaining about the high price of gasoline.” [Postrel]
  • Story on Vioxx settlement and Merck winning reversals heavily quotes me. [Product Liability Law 360 ($)]

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Mark Herrmann has details of Sinclair v. Merck.  The decision also suggests that the New Jersey Supreme Court is going to affirm the intermediate McDarby decision rejecting the use of consumer-fraud law for product-liability claims in New Jersey.

Mark Lanier and other plaintiffs lawyers are giving a series of interviews where they complain that the Ernst v. Merck decision (discussed yesterday) is “judicial activism that reinterprets the evidence.” (E.g., in Texas Lawyer.) This is nonsense. Ernst follows well-stated precedent. Indeed, I predicted precisely this result and precisely the case the appellate court would use to strike down the decision the week of the jury’s verdict.

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AP reports a Texas court has thrown out the infamous Ernst $26 million judgment; a New Jersey court has tossed $9 million of the judgment in McDarby. More details on Point of Law as available.

Ernst was the first Vioxx suit to go to trial. A jury awarded $253 million. Mark Lanier waited months before asking for a final judgment; at the time, I suggested that this was because he knew the case would be reversed on appeal, and did not want the bad publicity. Indeed, the appellate decision perhaps comes too late for Merck: the number of lawsuits increased from 6000 to 60000 in the months following publicity over the jury verdict, costing Merck billions of dollars in the later extortionate settlement.

With these two decisions, only three plaintiffs’ verdicts in favor of Merck remain.

Update: I still haven’t seen the McDarby decision, but an updated AP story indicates that it upheld the compensatory damages of $4.5 million, overturned the $9 million punitive damages verdict, and overturned the consumer-fraud judgment (which also saves Merck millions of dollars in plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees).

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May 19 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 19, 2008

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New at Point of Law

by Walter Olson on March 20, 2008

If you’re not keeping up with our sister site, you’re missing out on stories about how expert evidence standards help plaintiffs too (and more); animal rights more voguish at many law schools than those dull old humans; Ohio Supreme Court commended; implications of recent plunge in carpal tunnel cases; 93% enrollment in Vioxx settlement; attorney faces criminal charges after his clients quit their nursing jobs; extensive coverage of Gov. Spitzer’s downfall; more trouble for Florida lawyer accused of bribing defendant’s adjuster to obtain settlement target numbers; ballot measure would abolish employment at will in Colorado; judicial seminars by the securities class action bar; and much more.

February 19 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 19, 2008

  • Raising ticket revenue seems more important to NYC authorities than actually recovering stolen cars [Arnold Diaz/MyFoxNY video via Coyote]
  • Subpoena your Facebook page? They just might [Beck/Herrmann]
  • Rhode Island nightclub fire deep pockets, cont’d: concert sponsor Clear Channel agrees to pay Station victims $22 million, adding to other big settlements [ProJo; earlier]
  • Manhattan federal judge says “madness” of hard-fought commercial suit “presents a cautionary tale about the potential for advocates to obscure the issues and impose needless burdens on busy courts” [NYLJ]
  • Wooing Edwards and his voters? Hillary and Obama both tacking left on economics [Reuters/WaPo, WSJ, Chapman/Reason, WaPo editorial]
  • Sad: if you tell your employer that you’re away for 144 days on jury duty, you actually need to be, like, away on jury duty [ABA Journal]
  • New at Point of Law: Florida “three-strikes” keeps the doctor away; court dismisses alien-hiring RICO suit against Tyson (and more); Novak on telecom FISA immunity; fortunes in asbestos law; Ted on Avandia and Vioxx litigation; new Levy/Mellor book nominates Supreme Court’s twelve worst decisions; and much more;
  • U.K.: “Lawyers forced to repay millions taken from sick miners’ compensation” [Times Online]
  • Outside law firm defends Seattle against police-misconduct claims: is critics’ beef that they bill a lot, or that they’re pretty good at beating suits? [Post-Intelligencer]
  • Cincinnati NAACP is campaigning against red-light cameras [Enquirer]
  • Omit a peripheral defendant, get sued for legal malpractice [six years ago on Overlawyered]

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(Updating and bumping Feb. 4 post about to roll off bottom of page because of new comment activity)

  • Judge Fallon denied the motion of Florida plaintiffs to expedite a hearing on their inclusion into a settlement when they did not even bring suit (Jan. 30). Merck and the PSC are required to respond Feb. 15, and the hearing will be Feb. 21, where one can expect the motion to be denied.
  • At Point of Law, I comment on the recent grand jury investigation into Merck marketing of Vioxx.
  • Update, Feb. 8: separately, Merck yesterday settles for $650 million different Medicaid fraud allegations over the marketing of Vioxx and other drugs. The qui tam relator will get a jackpot award of $68 million. [WaPo; DOJ; Merck] The pricing theories at the center of these lawsuits—which hold Merck liable for purportedly charging too little—definitely deserve longer discussion another time.

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Vioxx roundup, January 15-17

by Ted Frank on January 17, 2008

(Re-posted from Point of Law.)

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Scheduled for broadcast today at the strange hour of 11:07 AM to 1:11 PM Eastern. A webcast is also available. See also our January 5 post.

A podcast and webcast are also available on the AEI website.

Libertarian medical school blogger “Frommedskool” has been critical of the Vioxx litigation (regularly citing to our coverage at Point of Law). An April 2006 post about the Cona/McDarby case, however, appears to have generated a December 2007 comment from someone calling himself Mark Lanier, the plaintiffs’ attorney in the case:

Third, there was a huge amount of info Merck had that it never gave the FDA, there were smoking gun memos and emails, and there was huge harassment of the medical community done by Merck. For example, Merck did a full meta-analysis of placebo trial that showed a statistically significant increase in heart attacks, but Merck excised that from the report given the FDA. Even Merck’s head admtted they should have given the analysis to the FDA.

(Point of Law discussed the so-called withholding of the meta-analysis back in 2006. It wasn’t all that.) Fascinatingly, this comment immediately provokes comments from another lurker (just two hours later?!) claiming to be a plaintiff, reasonably asking why, if the evidence was so good, Lanier was agreeing to settle 47,000 plaintiffs’ cases for under $5 billion, essentially a nuisance settlement given that victorious plaintiffs were being awarded in the millions and tens of millions.

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