A New Jersey state court trial judge has certified a nationwide class action on behalf of unions and other third-party payors of health claims in a lawsuit alleging that the companies would not have paid for Vioxx had they been warned of the dangers of it. The suit is brought under the NJ Consumer Protection Act. Merck is headquartered in New Jersey.
The judge wrote that “there are significant factual and legal issues common to all class members to make adjudication through class action fair and efficient. Having each individual class member attempt to litigate their claims (separately) would result in needless duplicative discovery, undue expense to the parties as well as an undue burden on judicial economy.”
Although the merits of the litigation have not been decided, the right to bring the case as a class action is a major victory for the plaintiffs.