Merck... wants to be sure that plaintiffs who do choose to go ahead will have to find new lawyers, a process that will probably be difficult because the firms with the most experience in the case are all part of the agreement.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (PRWEB) January 3, 2008
"No victim can be forced to accept the settlement, but Merck has included a controversial provision in the settlement agreement that makes it very difficult for victims to say no," said John Uustal, a partner with the firm.
The settlement agreement requires the plaintiffs' lawyers to recommend the deal to all their clients, and to refuse to represent any client who chooses to go ahead with their lawsuit instead of accepting the settlement. As reported in a recent New York Times article, "Merck... wants to be sure that plaintiffs who do choose to go ahead will have to find new lawyers, a process that will probably be difficult because the firms with the most experience in the case are all part of the agreement."
"I just don't like what Merck did here," said Uustal. "It's not fair to the victims. It makes it very, very difficult for victims to find a new lawyer if they don't want to settle. These folks just don't know what to do or where to turn."
One Vioxx victim, for example, is a 62-year-old woman who suffered a debilitating stroke after taking Vioxx every day for three years, who is now paralyzed on one side and can no longer speak, would receive approximately $500,000 under the settlement. After attorney's fees, litigation costs, and especially massive health insurance and hospital liens, little may be left for the victim.
Dozens of factors affect the payout for any individual. Victims can go to http://officialvioxxsettlement.com/calculator to find out approximately what the settlement is worth to them.
The plaintiffs have until January 15 to register for the settlement. Vioxx victims who do not want to settle, but are having trouble finding counsel willing to represent them, can contact the Florida Bar, or go to the Florida Bar's lawyer referral service at http://www.floridabar.org. However, there is no specific listing for firms willing to take non-settling Vioxx cases, according to Uustal.
About Kelley / Uustal
Robert Kelley and John Uustal formed their team of seasoned trial attorneys with more than 50 years of combined courtroom experience and more than 100 jury trials. The firm focuses its practice on securing compensation for clients who have been left physically and/or financially devastated by a catastrophic injury or event. The attorneys have been instrumental in securing more than $250 million in jury awards and settlements for clients. For more information, visit http://www.justiceforall.com