For immediate release

Montgomery, Alabama (April 8, 2005) – Jere Beasley, founding shareholder at Beasley Allen law firm in Montgomery, Ala., announced in a press conference this afternoon that Andy Birchfield had been named co-lead counsel for the Vioxx multi-district litigation (MDL). Birchfield, the firm's lead Vioxx attorney, has been investigating claims against the manufacturer of the arthritis drug since 2000.

In a pretrial order issued today, Judge Fallon of the United States District Court in Louisiana appointed Mr. Birchfield of Beasley Allen as co-lead counsel with regard to pending Vioxx products liability litigation. Additionally, the Court appointed Andy Birchfield to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) Executive Committee. Among the many duties of Executive Committee members, it is their responsibility to coordinate the responsibilities of the PSC and to appear at periodic court announced status conferences. A spot on the committee is coveted because its members navigate issues that can affect the outcome of the cases such as gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, choosing expert witnesses and developing overall strategy. They also meet with the judge and Merck's lawyers regularly.

The appointment of Mr. Birchfield is significant in regard to all Vioxx lawsuits filed in federal courts because the Multi District Litigation will deal with the largest drug recall in history. "Beasley Allen is committed to working on the massive problems caused to hundreds of thousands of people who trusted Merck to put a safe product on the market and who later learned that they had been betrayed," says Birchfield. "Vioxx should never have been put on the market and the FDA made a serious mistake when it approved the drug for sale."

Beasley Allen is currently evaluating more than 10,000 Vioxx cases and expects to file hundreds of lawsuits against Merck in the coming months. The first Vioxx case is scheduled to be tried by Beasley Allen on May 23, 2005 in the Circuit or State Court of Clay County in Ashland, Ala.

About Beasley Allen
Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, Beasley Allen is comprised of over 45 attorneys and 200 support staff. Beasley Allen is a national leader in civil litigation, having settled verdicts and settlements amounting to nearly $15 billion.

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