Merck wins Supreme Court hearing in pivotal Fosamax pre-emption case

Merck & Co. has another chance for a reprieve in its long-running fight against Fosamax liability lawsuits. After an appeals court revived hundreds of patient claims last year, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear Merck’s bid to put them to rest again.

Merck argues that the FDA rebuffed its 2008 bid to update the osteoporosis drug’s label to warn of a link to severe bone fractures, but decided to order a warning in October 2010, when Merck did so. Now, Merck shouldn’t be held liable for that lack of a warning, because the FDA’s labeling power shields it, the company says.

And the high court will now review that argument, in an important development for the drug industry. The question of FDA pre-emption has made its way through multiple courts in recent years, and Merck’s Supreme Court appeal could settle it. That, in turn, could affect product liability cases across pharma.

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The history in Merck’s case is similar to a few other legal battles. Back in 2014, a federal judge dismissed a set of Fosamax fracture claims, saying the FDA’s decisions pre-empt state-court claims from patients. An appeals court in New Jersey revived those lawsuits—about 500 of them—and ordered them to be tried before a jury, because the facts weren’t a question for a judge to decide.

In reviewing Merck’s request for a hearing, the high court asked the U.S. Solicitor General to weigh in, and in its amicus brief backing Merck, the office says exactly the opposite: that FDA pre-emption is a legal question for a judge, not a jury. The FDA’s decision to reject Merck’s proposed label change supported pre-emption because it “prevented [Merck] from modifying the relevant labeling before late 2010.” Thus, he added, the court of appeals made a mistake in rejecting Merck’s defense. 

Probate Funding: A Useful Option for So Many

Why is Probate Funding Needed?
Probate Funding is growing in importance due to the increasing percentage of the population (i.e. baby boomers) who die annually and have their Estates and/or Trusts go through probate administration. In theory, the process of distributing a Decedent’s estate should not be complicated. But in practice, administration is rarely quick and easy. Even simple or uncontested Probate administrations take no less than eight (8) months to a year to finalize, while the vast majority of administrations of Probate or Trust Estates take much longer.
Due to funding and short staffing issues, many Courts set hearings months out even on uncontested petitions. Quite often, because of questions relating to the admissibility of a Will, the location of intestate heirs, and/or questions

Police misconduct claims cost Detroit taxpayers $19.1 million since 2015

The city of Detroit has paid out $19.1 million to settle claims of police misconduct since 2015, 7 Action News has learned.

The payouts stem from allegations of wrongful arrest, assault and battery, destruction of property and more.

“$19 million? That impacts every single citizen in the city of Detroit,” said Reginald Crawford, a retired Detroit police officer who recently completed a term on the city’s Board of Police Commissioners.

“The city knows they’re liable, they’re on the hook for something,” he said.

New Rule: Save Removed Physiomesh for Trial

New rules let patients preserve certain hernia mesh for lawsuits.

A Georgia court issued the order May 29, 2018. It sets rules to preserve and store Physiomesh hernia mesh for trial. The order gives new guidance for the hundreds of people suing Ethicon over Physiomesh.

Preserving defective medical devices can sometimes help people who file lawsuits. But the process may vary from case to case. The Physiomesh case gives unique insight into the process.

The order requires people to tell their surgeons to preserve both hernia mesh and tissue. Hernia mesh lawyers will arrange to send all samples to a company called Steelgate Inc. It is a biomedical storage and management company in Florida.

As of May 2018, there were 872 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits in federal court. The cases are part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDLs allow several similar lawsuits to move more efficiently through the court process.

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