Jerry Alexander of Alexander & Associates in the News
As reported in PR Newswire, PHILADELPHIA, May 5
In a joint motion today, Wyeth (NYSE: WYE), National Class Counsel and counsel for a number of individual class members in the national diet drug settlement moved to stay for 60 days the processing and payment of the least serious but most numerous claims -those designated Matrix Level I or II claims. The proposed stay would provide the parties with an opportunity to draft and submit to the Court a Seventh Amendment to the settlement agreement that would create a new claims processing structure, funding arrangement and payment schedule for these less serious claims. The proposed amendment would require Court approval as well as final agreement by Wyeth. If finalized and approved, the proposed Seventh Amendment would include the following key terms:
- The Amendment would create an Alternate Claims facility to process the least serious claims - designated Matrix Level I or II claims under the national diet drug settlement. The National Settlement is administered by the AHP Settlement Trust, which is a separate legal entity and operates independently of Wyeth.
- Following final approval by Wyeth and the courts, Wyeth would ultimately deposit $1.275 billion into the Alternate Claims facility, which would be run by a claims administrator approved by the court. All current Matrix Level I and II claimants who pass medical review would receive a pro rata share of this amount, which would vary depending upon the number of claimants, the nature of their claims, their age and other factors.
- Class members would have the right to opt out of the Seventh Amendment and to remain bound by the terms of the existing National Settlement. Wyeth, however, would have the right to withdraw from the Seventh Amendment if participation by class members is inadequate or for other reasons. All class members who participate in the Seventh Amendment would give up any further opt-out rights.
According to Lawrence V. Stein, Senior Vice President and General Counsel,Wyeth, "If the Seventh Amendment is finalized and approved by the Court, and if there is full participation by class members, the Amendment would expedite payments and could provide a degree of certainty for Wyeth regarding the ultimate resolution of Matrix Level I and II claims. More importantly, the Seventh Amendment would increase the likelihood that class members with approved claims will receive compensation within the National Settlement."
The Alternative Claims Facility will be established by Michael Fishbein of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, appointed by the Court as Class Counsel for Claimants and additional Claimants' Counsel including Jerry Alexander, of Alexander & Associates, P.C., James Doyle of Fleming and Associates, L.P., Ellen Presby of Baron & Budd, P.C., Tony Martinez of Martinez y Barrerra L.P., and Wayne Spivey of Shrager, Spivey and Sachs, P.C.
As reported in PR Newswire on July 23, 2004, Attorneys who represent Fen-Phen victims today announced that negotiations to create an amendment to the Fen-Phen Trust have been tentatively approved by both sides. The proposed agreement -- labeled the 7th Amendment -- will allow Wyeth to pay immediate reduced settlements to more than 40,000 Fen-Phen victims.
"Both sides have worked very hard over the past several months for a fair, efficient solution that ensures that the funds will be there to help victims today, and in the future," said Jerry Alexander, a victim representative and member of the 7th Amendment Liaison Committee.
CFC Notes Support for Opt-Out Settlement Process
February 28, 2005
The Claims Facilitating Committee (CFC) announced this week that lawyers representing nearly half of all claimants who have pending lawsuits against Wyeth related to the ingestion of diet drugs have agreed to recommend that their clients participate in the settlement process negotiated between Wyeth and the CFC.
This settlement process was presented less than 30 days ago to the Federal Judge overseeing all Class Members in the Diet Drug Litigation, the Honorable Harvey Bartle, III. The process is designed to facilitate the resolution of lawsuits filed against Wyeth.
"It is simply amazing that within less than 30 days, well over 100 law firms who represent thousands of diet drug claimants have committed to recommend this settlement process to their clients. The response has been overwhelming. Moreover, lawyers representing thousands of claimants who haven't yet committed are seriously considering the deal," said Jerry Alexander, one of the CFC members.
The proposed settlement would reportedly pay substantial amounts to claimants who have evidence of heart valve leakage based on their age at the time of diagnosis and the extent of valvular leakage. More serious cases involving heart valve surgery and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension would be separately negotiated with Wyeth in an effort to fairly resolve such claims.
Settlements under this process would end years of litigation between diet drug users and Wyeth. Attorneys representing as few as one client and as many as thousands have agreed to recommend this deal, which illustrates its fairness," said Ellen Presby of Baron & Budd, another member of the CFC.
According to Wayne Spivey of the CFC, "We have begun the process of working with numerous courts around the country to cancel trial settings in these cases so that we can work with Wyeth to bring these cases to closure. All of the Judges whom we have met with have been very supportive of this process."
Wyeth Seeks New $1.25 Billion Fen Phen Settlement
August 12th, 2004
A proposed settlement between drugmaker Wyeth and attorneys representing more than 100,000 former Fen Phen users, would expedite the review of the least serious but numerous claims, while allowing Wyeth to pay drastically reduced settlements.
The agreement, labeled the 7th Amendment, creates a $1.25 billion fund for a new class of Trust members, who opt to receive reduced settlements upon final Court approval of the Amendment. The remaining balance of the original $3.75 billion Trust will be used to help the victims who have ongoing health problems in years to come.
About 40,000 people with non-life-threatening heart-valve damage, the biggest group of claimants, would be covered by the new fund.
“The 7th Amendment is a real and meaningful solution to the Fen-Phen Trust where payments are essentially nonexistent for the vast majority of claimants. This solution preserves funding in the event claimants injured by diet drugs progress to heart valve surgery or similarly serious conditions and allows Wyeth to pay reduced settlements to more than 40,000 Fen-Phen victims with non-surgical conditions,” said Jerry Alexander, a victim representative and member of the 7th Amendment Liaison Committee.
Wyeth said in a statement: “Class members will have the right to opt out of the Seventh Amendment and to remain bound by the existing terms of the national settlement. The Company also has the right to withdraw from the Seventh Amendment if participation by class members is inadequate or for any other reason.”
This agreement now requires judicial approval, and the stay on Trust claims processing will continue during this process, Wyeth said.
The Fen-Phen Trust was established in 2001 after the Mayo Clinic reported that Pondimin, a drug sold by Wyeth as half of the Fen-Phen combination, caused serious heart and lung damage.
(via PR Newswire)
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