Merck Wins Reversal In A Vioxx Lawsuit

Merck Wins Reversal In A Vioxx Lawsuit

August 30th, 2011 // 1:04 pm @

As you know, litigators never say die. And the Merck team has a won another victory long after the 2007 settlement that involved forking over $4.85 billion to resolve most outstanding claims in the US where people claimed harm from the Vioxx painkiller, which was linked to heart attacks and strokes.

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Late last week, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the drugmaker does not have to pay $32 million to the family of a Leonel Garza, who died of a heart attack in 2001, because they failed to produce adequate evidence showing Vioxx caused his heart attack . Although Garza had a history of heart trouble, a jury decided on the award in 2006, although the amount was reduced to $8 million due to a state cap.

For those long ago lost track, Merck won 11 of the 16 Vioxx lawsuits that went to trial starting in 2005. The 2007 settlement excluded some cases the drugmaker lost and was in the process of appealing, including the Garza case.

The Garza case, by the way, caused a controversy of its own involving juror misconduct. Specifically, there was a relationship between a juror who was a school custodian and widow Felicia Garza, who taught at the same school. Garza had allegedly loaned the juror a total of $12,700 interest-free in seven loans since 2000. When questioned, juror Jose Manuel Rios said only that he knew Garza “from school” and did not admit to the loans.

As it turns out, the last loan was made just six months before trial began in 2005. And after the verdict in favor of Garza, Merck discovered several calls from Rios’s cell phone to Garza’s telephone, including one made within days of Rios’s receipt of the jury summons; another the night before jury selection; and four calls on the day after Merck filed a post-trial motion to take Rios’s deposition. And so how did Rios vote? He sided with the 10-2 majority in rendering a verdict against Merck

Source: Pharmalot

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