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In re Vioxx Products Liability Litigation

239 F.R.D. 450 (2006)

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In re Vioxx Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

239 F.R.D. 450 (2006)

Facts

Merck & Co. Inc. (Merck) (defendant) was sued by thousands of individuals and numerous putative class actions (plaintiffs) for product-liability and personal-injury issues related to the drug Vioxx. Vioxx was marketed and prescribed to safely relieve pain and inflammation but allegedly caused undisclosed serious medical problems, like heart attacks. The lawsuits were all transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana and given multidistrict-litigation status. The district court was called on to decide a motion to certify a nationwide class under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The proposed class would consist of persons residing in 51 jurisdictions of the United States and be represented by two New Jersey residents who took Vioxx and suffered heart problems. Merck was headquartered in New Jersey. The movants contended that New Jersey substantive law should apply and that a class action was appropriate. Merck argued in opposition that the proposed class members’ claims must be adjudicated under the substantive laws of the states in which they resided, ingested, and were injured by Vioxx, defeating class certification.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fallon, J.)

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