U.S. Supreme Court justices seemed reluctant Monday to give the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. a “statute of limitations” way out of defending against a securities fraud class action involving Vioxx.

The Court heard arguments in Merck v. Reynolds, the latest round in a continuing battle over how easy or hard it should be to file class actions. Companies want speed, while shareholder and consumer groups insist they need time to develop the evidence for their claims. In this case, the Obama administration sided with the shareholders.

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