Christopher A. Seeger, Esq. Served on Vioxx Negotiating Committee on Behalf of Thousands of Plaintiffs Nationwide
Seeger Weiss LLP, announces that founding member Christopher A. Seeger along with co-counsel on the Vioxx Negotiating Committee have obtained a $4.85 billion Global Resolution with Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) for heart attack and stroke claims related to more than 45,000 plaintiffs’ use of Merck’s arthritis drug Vioxx. The personal injury settlement was entered today in New Orleans before the Honorable Eldon E. Fallon, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, as well before New Jersey Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney who have coordinated the New Jersey and California Vioxx litigations, respectively. The resolution encompasses the majority of the Vioxx cases that have been in litigation throughout the country, including most of the New Jersey State Vioxx litigation, the California Vioxx litigation matters and the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). As Co-Lead Counsel in the litigation, Mr. Seeger played an essential role in the resolution, together with the entire Vioxx Negotiating Committee, which included co-counsel Andy D. Birchfield, Jr. (Beasley Allen), Russ Herman (Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar), Arnold Levin (Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman), Tom Girardi (Girardi-Keese) and Ed Blizzard (Blizzard McCarthy).
Seeger Weiss has served in the forefront of the Vioxx litigation, with leadership roles, having been appointed as both Liaison Counsel and Co-Lead Counsel in the New Jersey State Vioxx coordinated actions by the Honorable Carol E. Higbee, and as Co-Lead Counsel in the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) by the Honorable Eldon E. Fallon. Earlier this year, Mr. Seeger served as Lead Co-Counsel in Humeston v. Merck, wherein he and Seeger Weiss partners David R. Buchanan and Moshe Horn, and associates Laurence Nassif and Jeffrey Grand, obtained a $47.5 million jury verdict for injuries caused by Vioxx.
‘It’s been a long hard fight in achieving justice for the many injured victims of Vioxx nationwide and I believe this global resolution is the best and fairest way to resolve this litigation,’ said Mr. Seeger. ‘I will confidently recommend this settlement to my clients because it eliminates the risk attendant in litigation.’
Mr. Seeger initiated the Vioxx litigation in 2001 with co-counsel from Beasley Allen, the Lanier Law Firm, and Goforth Lewis Sanford, two years prior to Merck’s removal of Vioxx from the market. Seeger Weiss partners David R. Buchanan, Moshe Horn, and Diogenes P. Kekatos, and associates Laurence Nassif and Jeffrey Grand, have significantly contributed to the litigation, which over the years has resulted in 17 trials including Humeston v. Merck, more than 50 million pages of discovery documents, and more than 2000 depositions.
The settlement process began when the Honorable Eldon E. Fallon, Carol E. Higbee and Victoria Chaney called the parties in and implored them to begin settlement talks. Since that time, the judges have remained active in keeping the settlement process moving, working with the Vioxx Negotiating Committee.
The settlement is structured to include a threshold requirement, whereby each plaintiff will show that he or she suffered a heart attack or stroke while taking Vioxx, and once that claim clears the threshold, the plaintiff will be fairly and reasonably compensated. These claims are to be resolved as quickly as possible and the resolution is intended to bring to a close the personal injury cases in the Vioxx litigation.
Information About Vioxx
In 1999, Merck & Co. introduced and began marketing Vioxx (rofecoxib), which quickly became a hugely popular prescription pain reliever for the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain, menstrual pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Vioxx is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (“NSAID”) known as a COX-2 inhibitor. By early 2000, less than a year after the drug was introduced, a study that monitored over 7,000 patients found that people who take Vioxx have five times greater risk of heart attack than those who take other painkillers. Despite the results of this trial, Merck waited another two years before warning physicians of the cardiovascular risks associated with its multi-billion-dollar-a-year drug. During that time, scores of patients suffered heart attacks and strokes while taking Vioxx. On September 30, 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market after a long-term study demonstrated an increased risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes for patients who took Vioxx.