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FEN-PHEN PLAINTIFFS DEALT BLOW ON 2 LEVELS PHILADELPHIA — Lawyers representing individual plaintiffs who took the fen-phen diet drugs suffered setbacks in a pair of decisions handed down last week — one state, the other federal. In Sokoloski v. Les Laboratoires Servier, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the dismissal of 23 lawsuits brought against two French companies that manufactured powder ingredients used to make the drugs, saying the plaintiffs were judicially estopped from bringing such claims due to their participation in the federal class action against American Home Products Corp. And in federal court, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III ruled that hundreds of plaintiffs who took advantage of an “intermediate opt-out” provision in the class action settlement cannot now file lawsuits with dozens or even hundreds of co-plaintiffs but instead must each file separate suits — each paying the $150 court filing fee. In 1997, American Home Products Corp., now the Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, withdrew the diet-drug combination known as fen-phen from the market after medical studies reported the drugs could cause heart-valve trouble. — The Legal Intelligencer

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