(5/6/2023) -- P.R. Newswire reports that Wyeth, National Class Counsel and counsel for a number of individual class members in the national diet drug settlement moved to stay for 60 days the processing and payment of the least serious but most numerous claims - those designated Matrix Level I or II claims. According to P.R. Newswire, the proposed stay would provide the parties with an opportunity to draft and submit to the Court a Seventh Amendment to the settlement agreement that would create a new claims processing structure, funding arrangement and payment schedule for these less serious claims. The proposed amendment would require Court approval as well as final agreement by Wyeth, according to the press release.
According to P.R. Newswire, the proposed Seventh Amendment--if finalized and approved--would include the following key terms:
* The Amendment would create an Alternate Claims facility to process the least serious claims - designated Matrix Level I or II claims under the national diet drug settlement. The National Settlement is administered by the AHP Settlement Trust, which is a separate legal entity and operates independently of Wyeth.
* Following final approval by Wyeth and the courts, Wyeth would ultimately deposit $1.275 billion into the Alternate Claims facility, which would be run by a claims administrator approved by the court. All current Matrix Level I and II claimants who pass medical review would receive a pro rata share of this amount, which would vary depending upon the number of claimants, the nature of their claims, their age and other factors.
* Class members would have the right to opt out of the Seventh Amendment and to remain bound by the terms of the existing National Settlement. Wyeth, however, would have the right to withdraw from the Seventh Amendment if participation by class members is inadequate or for other reasons. All class members who participate in the Seventh Amendment would give up any further opt-out rights.
According to P.R. Newswire, Lawrence V. Stein, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Wyeth, said: "If the Seventh Amendment is finalized and approved by the Court, and if there is full participation by class members, the Amendment would expedite payments and could provide a degree of certainty for Wyeth regarding the ultimate resolution of Matrix Level I and II claims. More importantly, the Seventh Amendment would increase the likelihood that class members with approved claims will receive compensation within the National Settlement."
The Alternative Claims Facility will be established by Michael Fishbein of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, appointed by the Court as Class Counsel for Claimants and additional Claimants' Counsel including Jerry Alexander, of Alexander & Associates, P.C., James Doyle of Fleming and Associates, L.P., Ellen Presby of Baron & Budd, P.C., Tony Martinez of Martinez y Barrerra L.P., and Wayne Spivey of Shrager, Spivey and Sachs, P.C.