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The historic $4.85B Vioxx settlement by Merck (NYSE: MRK) Is one step closer to a final resolution. One of the requirements of the settlement was the at least 85% of the approximately 55,000 persons suing Merck had to agree to the settlement. The deadline to enroll all clients who desired to participate in the settlement was Febrary 29, 2008. Early reports indicate that the 85% figure will be easily met. Those that do not enroll in the settlement will have their cases listed for trial in either Atlantic City, NJ, New Orleans, or, perhaps whatever state they orginally filed their suits. Most cases not filed in NJ were filed in many different states, but were all moved to the United States District Court in New Orleans and were presided over by Judge Fallon. The judge there may send those cases not in the settlment back to the home states of the plaintiffs. Merck has promised that the first checks will be sent to clients on a rolling basis beginning in August, 2008. Of course, Merck does not admit any responsibility for the heart attacks, strokes, and deaths caused by the now disgraced and withdrawn pain killer drug, Vioxx.

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