. Merck lawyers said they had closely scrutinized that and other cases to find ways to ensure that its settlement does not exceed the $4.85 billion, of which $4 billion will go to heart attack claimants and the rest to stroke claimants. Among other things, potential claimants will have to have prior medical documentation of a heart attack or stroke, and they will not be able to later opt out of the settlement. Also, all law firms involved in the "steering committees" directing pretrial discovery and other coordination of both state and federal cases must get every one of their clients to settle. Payments would vary, depending on severity of injuries, length of time that Vioxx was used and each person''s risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A complex system would assign points to each claimant. Payments could start as early as August 2008. Lawyers fees are to come out of the $4.85 billion fund, based on the percentage in their contingency agreements with clients; additional fees will go to the law firms that together amassed more than 50 million pages of documents for use by all plaintiffs'' lawyers. Attorneys for both sides presented the deal Friday morning to U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon in New Orleans. A total of about 60,000 personal injury cases have been filed, including thousands on hold under agreements suspending the statute of limitations, plus about 265 potential class action cases, some of which allege shareholder losses. The deal does not include people in foreign countries, any with different injuries, any with stock-related claims or a group with no evident injuries that is suing for Merck to pay for medical monitoring.