Punitive Damage Claims Kept Alive In NuvaRing Bellwethers

Law360, New York (May 3, 2013, 7:04 PM EDT) -- A New Jersey state judge on Friday refused to strike down claims for punitive damages in nine bellwether cases over injuries allegedly caused by a Merck & Co. Inc. subsidiary's NuvaRing contraceptive, ruling that the laws of the individual states could allow the awards.

Rejecting Merck and Organon USA Inc.'s motion for summary judgment, Judge Brian R. Martinotti emphasized that the alleged injuries took place in separate states, each of which have an interest in governing punitive damages.

The pharmaceutical companies had argued that the New Jersey Product Liability Act excluding punitive damages in prescription drug litigation applies to all of the...

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