"They are trying the fourth bellwether case in May," Stewart says. "My personal opinion is that we could be looking shortly at a global settlement. The bellwether case allows plaintiffs and defendants to have a feel for liability and the value of damages. Typically, anywhere from three to five bellwether trials are held in a case. It's critical for people damaged by Fosamax to have their claim heard now."
The problem is that the amount of money put into a settlement fund is decided based on liability and the value of the claim. The defendants want to know the total number of potential claims so they can develop their settlement matrix. If people's claims are not registered, the settlement fund might be too low to pay out all claimants' losses.
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"Right now, the focus of Fosamax cases is the necrosis of the jaw and whether it's full death or partial death," Stewart says. "They look at teeth falling out, bone rot and so on. That doesn't mean we won't see bone break claims and other injuries later, but right now the focus is on the jaw. It's disfiguring to have your jaw die and your teeth fall out. It affects your life.
"There is no advantage to waiting to file your claim. You want to be counted while the judge is deciding what to do. There are no guarantees in these Fosamax cases. Two verdicts have been for the defense and one has been for the plaintiff. People need to step up and say, 'I'm out there and this is my injury.'"