individually and on behalf of similarly situated African-American workers of defendant
Merck-Medco, claiming racial discrimination in employment.
On June 18, 2001, in response to the defendants’ first motion to dismiss, the late
Honorable Charles R. Weiner ordered the parties to conduct discovery on the issue of
whether Thompson was an employee of Merck.3 Neither party initiated any such
discovery. On December 30, 2002, Judge Weiner dismissed the case without prejudice.
Nevertheless, the case was reopened a few months later when the defendants filed a
motion to strike all class allegations which Judge Weiner granted.
On May 25, 2004, the parties entered into a Stipulation in the Webb case wherein
the parties and the Court agreed that discovery and trial would take place on a priority
basis in the cases of plaintiffs Shannon Feddiman-Simon, Anthony Green, and Roger
Moore.4 According to Thompson, these cases were prioritized as “bellwether” actions
which were expected to provide information and perhaps settlement values in related
litigation, including Thompson’s claims. Following the death of Judge Weiner, this case
was reassigned to me.
In March 2006, plaintiff’s counsel repeatedly attempted to contact Thompson to
inquire whether she wanted to continue with the case and whether she wanted to request
3 On April 23, 2001, defendant Merck filed a motion to dismiss, claiming it was not a proper defendant in this case because it was not Thompson’s employer.
4 I note that this stipulation did not include an agreement that the claims of the other plaintiffs would be abandoned or suspended pending the prioritized discovery and trial of these three plaintiffs. See Exhibit B of Pl’s motion to reopen the case.