New Jersey Supreme Court decertifies nationwide Vioxx class action Alexis Unkovic at 5:26 PM ET
[JURIST] The New Jersey Supreme Court [official website] dismissed a class action lawsuit [case documents] filed against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. [corporate website] Thursday, reversing a lower court's decision to grant nationwide class certification in the case. The lawsuit, filed by the International Union of Operating Engineers [union website] Local 68 Welfare Fund on behalf of various insurers and health-maintenance organizations, was one of several pending cases regarding Merck's marketing and distribution of the painkiller Vioxx [Merck backgrounder; JURIST news archive].
Decertification of the class action means plaintiffs can still file individual lawsuits against Merck but not as a unified class. Merck applauded [press release] the court's ruling, reiterating its argument that nationwide class certification was inappropriate in this case. In November 2006, a federal judge declined to certify a similar national class action suit [JURIST report] against Merck, ruling that it made more sense to try those cases in their respective states of origin. Merck has its worldwide headquarters in New Jersey. Bloomberg has more.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.