June 5, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider Merck & Co.’s bid to stop a shareholder lawsuit over the now-withdrawn Vioxx painkiller in a case that might mean tighter deadlines for investor fraud lawsuits.
A federal appeals court said Merck must defend against a proposed class-action lawsuit that accuses the drugmaker of defrauding investors about the risks posed by Vioxx, which the company pulled from the market in 2004 because of links to heart attacks and strokes. Merck argues that the investors filed suit too late.
The appeal turns on the starting date for the two-year window that investors are given to file some types of federal securities lawsuits. The question for the high court concerns how much notice an investor must have about possible company wrongdoing to cause that window to open.
Read Article: Bloomberg
Is the compulsion to hoard things a mental disorder? How about the practice of eating excessively at night?
And what of Internet addiction: Should it be diagnosed and treated?
As the clock ticks toward the release of the most influential of mental health textbooks, psychiatrists are asking themselves thousands of complex and sometimes controversial questions. The answers will determine how Americans’ mental health is assessed, diagnosed and treated.
Over the next 18 months, psychiatrists will hammer out a draft of the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Assn.’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, more commonly called DSM-V. Nowhere have the discussions been more heated, the ramifications most vividly foretold, than here at the organization’s annual meeting.
Some psychiatrists warn that the tome runs the risk of medicalizing the normal range of human behaviors; others vehemently argue that it must be broad enough to guide treatment of those who need it.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
Consumers have the right to sue as a group over advertising they believe misled them into buying products, a divided state Supreme Court ruled Monday in reinstating a massive suit against the tobacco industry.
The 4-3 decision rejected business arguments that, if accepted, would have virtually prohibited class-action suits for false advertising by requiring proof that every plaintiff – millions of them, in some cases – had seen an allegedly deceptive ad and relied on it to make a purchase. The court majority said that evidence is required only for the single plaintiff or small group that represents the entire class.
“This gives the consumers rights to protect themselves from fraudulent advertising,” said Mark Robinson, a lawyer for the smokers who sued tobacco companies in 1997.
The ruling could make California “the class-action capital of the country,” retorted William Stern, a lawyer for business organizations and a co-author of Proposition 64, a 2004 ballot measure at the heart of the case.
Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday for AT&T Inc in a dispute over how retirement benefits should be calculated for women who took maternity leaves before the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act took effect in 1979.
By a 7-2 vote, the justices overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that AT&T had violated federal civil rights law by not granting women credit for their entire pregnancy-related leaves taken before 1979.
The 1979 law barred companies from treating pregnancy leaves differently from other disability leaves. Since then, maternity leave has been considered disability leave and has been credited toward retirement.
The ruling was a defeat for four AT&T employees who each took at least one maternity leave between 1968 and 1976 and had sued. AT&T at the time allowed pregnant women up to 30 days of paid leave, but the women lost between 67 and 261 days of uncredited leave.
Read Article: Reuters
Wrongful death lawsuit: Parents of boy killed by garage door sue homeowner, manufacturer and installer
The family whose 6-year-old son was killed after a garage door closed on him filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Wednesday against the Chicago homeowner and two companies believed to have manufactured and installed the door.
Angela Washington-Sanders and Marshall Sanders sued in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of their son, Dijion, whose death Saturday was from compressional asphyxia after he was trapped under the garage door, according to the medical examiner’s office. His 9-year-old brother found him fatally injured and alerted their mother after Dijion was playing outside alone, the family said.
The suit names as defendants Darrell Washington, the victim’s uncle who owned the home in the 9200 block of South Saginaw Avenue in the Calumet Heights neighborhood where the accident occurred, as well as Mid-America Door Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co.
The suit alleged that the garage door wasn’t equipped with a motion sensor and that Washington failed to warn his relatives that it “could unexpectedly close or fall.”
Read Article: Chicago Tribune
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