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Supreme Court lets Baycoll class action proceed; rules in four other cases

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will let two West Virginia residents revive a lawsuit against Bayer AG over its anti-cholesterol drug Baycol, which was withdrawn from the market in 2001 after reports of a severe and sometimes fatal muscle disorder.

The high court on Thursday unanimously agreed to let Kevin Smith and Shirley Sperlazza’s class-action lawsuit against Bayer go forward.

The 8th U.S. Court of Appeals had thrown out their lawsuit out after a federal judge overseeing multistate litigation against Bayer refused to let other West Virginians file a similar class-action lawsuit against the corporation. The high court said that decision was incorrect. The case is Smith v. Bayer Corp., 09-1205.

The case was one of five the Supreme Court resolved on Thursday. The others were:

* J.D.B. v. North Carolina: The court ruled 5-4 in the case of a 13-year-old special education student that police and courts must consider age when examining whether a child is in police custody and required to be read Miranda rights.

* Davis v. U.S.: By a 7-2 vote, the justices upheld the criminal conviction of an Alabama man even though the vehicle search that produced the incriminating evidence against him was illegal, based on a Supreme Court ruling that came down after his arrest. The majority explained that the purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter police misconduct, and since police followed the law as it existed when they conducted the search, “suppression would do nothing to deter police misconduct.”

* Bond v. U.S.: The unanimous court said a woman can challenge the federal government’s use of an anti-terrorism law to prosecute her for trying to poison her husband’s pregnant lover with toxic chemicals spread around her rival’s house, car and mailbox. Carole Anne Bond, of Lansdale, Pa., claims the U.S. government’s decision to charge her under a “chemical weapons” law was an unconstitutional reach into a state’s power to handle what her lawyer calls a domestic dispute.

* Tapia v. U.S.: The justices ruled, again unanimously, that judges cannot give a convict extra time in prison in the hope it will be used to get into and complete drug treatment or other rehabilitative programs.