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Why did the judge declare a mistrial so quickly?

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The jury was almost unanimous -- all save one were prepared to find for the defendant Merck, on the grounds that Vioxx was not the cause of the defendant's attack.

According to the Wall St. Journal, the one holdout juror didn't seem to care about the law at all:
"According to one juror, the holdout wasn't swayed by the majority's argument. "Basically the sticking point was the marketing" of Vioxx, this juror said. "There was just folding of the arms and rolling of the eyes and not listening," and saying that "the marketing was inappropriate and that kind of thing," the juror added.

In other words, to this juror, forget causation, poor marketing makes one liable for things one didn't cause.

Again, why did the trial judge declare a mistrial so quickly? Was he indirectly sanctioning the plaintiff's mistrial motion, alluded to by me in an earlier posting on this site? That motion, based on a spurious publication issue, could arguably not have been directly granted without severe risk of appellate review. Has the judge done indirectly what could not have been directly done?

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.