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Merck has moved to coordinate dozens of lawsuits brought over injuries allegedly caused by its shingles vaccine, Zostavax.

In an April 20 motion, Michaela Roberts, an attorney for Merck & Co. and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer 57 cases to U.S. District Senior Judge James Moody of the Middle District of Florida, or U.S. District Senior Judge Harvey Bartle of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The motion comes as Merck has 27 pending “substantively identical motions to dismiss” before 13 judges.

“There now exists a critical need for coordination of pretrial proceedings to avoid duplicative, burdensome discovery of the defendants and perhaps experts, and inconsistent rulings on nearly identical pretrial motions,” wrote Roberts, a partner at Venable in Baltimore. “Although Merck has begun to pursue discovery from many plaintiffs, thus far no Merck witness depositions have taken place. In addition, expert discovery has not yet begun and trials are not expected to commence for at least another year. However, the parties are on the precipice of receiving potentially conflicting orders with respect to Merck’s motions to dismiss plaintiffs’ fraud-related claims.”

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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.

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