Tuesday, November 13, 2007
That was fast. Mealey's is hosting a conference on the Vioxx settlement at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans on Dec. 10-11, 2007. Plaintiffs' lawyers only. According to the Mealey's marketing e-mail, the speakers include a number of the plaintiff-side negotiators and other key players, including Andy Birchfield, Edward Blizzard, Thomas Girardi, Mark Lanier, Arnold Levin, and Chris Seeger.
You can bet plaintiffs' lawyers deciding whether to recommend the Merck settlement to their clients will ask a lot of questions about claimant eligibility and compensation, as well as about their own legal fees. I hope that some of them push hard, as well, on the professional responsibility issues raised by the deal, such as how to provide clients with enough information to obtain informed consent as required by the aggregate settlement rule, and whether it would be ethical to abandon any client at this point in the litigation if the client chooses -- as is each client's absolute right -- to decline the settlement offer. Comments on legal ethics issues raised by the deal may be found in my earlier post on implications of the Vioxx settlement, as well as at the WSJ Law Blog, Pharmalot, and Point of Law.