Merck Avoids State Claims Linked to Vioxx Settlements

Skadden secured a rare All-Writs Act injunction for Merck & Co., Inc. when a Louisiana federal court took the unusual step of intervening in a state court proceeding to prevent plaintiffs from pursuing certain damages theories already addressed by earlier settlements. The order was directed at a $220 million Vioxx-related state consumer class action. On April 23 — the eve of trial — Judge Eldon Fallon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that “if subsequent state court proceedings can functionally interfere with or unsettle a completed settlement … it would have a chilling effect on future settlements and interfere with the ability of this court and others to foster efficient global resolutions in complex multidistrict litigation.”