Merck wants Madison County class action dismissed

Steve Gonzalez May 31, 2005, 7:33am

Circuit Judge George Moran

Dan Ball

A lawyer for Merck & Co. will try to convince Madison County Circuit Court Judge George Moran to dismiss a Vioxx class action complaint filed by Myrna Amisch of Granite City in a hearing Wednesday.

Amisch filed suit just one week after Merck removed its arthritis pain medication from the market for safety reasons on Sept. 30. Her class action complaint, the third and last one filed in Madison County, alleges that the the drug maker deceived consumers into believing Vioxx was a superior product over others and that it hid the drug's dangerous side effects.

Dan Ball of Bryan Cave in St. Louis will argue for Merck that a dismissal or stay is warranted because Amisch can seek relief in other pending cases against Merck.

Her suit seeks to recover no more than $75,000 minus costs and interest per class member.

“Merck should be protected from facing identical allegations in multiple jurisdictions, as it would be manifestly unfair for Merck to answer the same allegations in multiple courts and repeat the discovery process multiple times,” Ball wrote in his motion to dismiss.

Ball also claims that allowing Amisch’s suit to proceed would encourage others to file lawsuits to circumvent adverse rulings or force settlements.

“There is no relief that Amisch can obtain here that she cannot also obtain in other class action lawsuits,” Ball claims.

Ball claims that Merck will suffer substantial prejudice if it is forced to simultaneously litigate identical claims in multiple courts by facing the risk of inconsistent rulings and judgments.

Moran will here Ball’s arguments at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Amisch is represented by the Edwardsville firm Goldenberg, Miller, Heller & Antognoli.

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