Mark Wahlstrom put this perfectly:
This has been building behind the scenes, as articles starting leaking out in the business and legal press about how the plaintiff steering committee works on MDL and Mass Tort litigation, but a major rupture in the united front by the trial lawyers was announced in the WSJ.
Attorneys have acted to create a supergroup - sort of like a legal version of former supergroup "Asia" apart from the group handling the federal multi district litigation in New Orleans, LA.
Attorney Mark Lanier - who hammerered Vioxx - and who had expressed some displeasure earlier this month in having to pay fee's and funds to the steering committee for work that he essentially felt was totally a result of his own firm's efforts.
Mark said: "What makes this split so profound is that now Merck is going to have an extraordinarily difficult time getting a "global settlement" of the Vioxx case, as the stated goal of the new group is to drive up values, max out individual cases, and for lack of a better analogy, turn this into more of an asbestos type litigation as opposed to a phen-fen global settlement. The former a long term, case to case, individual firm process, and the latter a comprehensive global settlement negotiated by committee."