Benjamin Zipursky of Fordham University School of Law writes for Jurist that the Vioxx litigation "serves once again to expose numerous serious shortcomings in our system."
Garza v. Heart Clinic, a Texas state case with an even weaker theory of causation than the first three trials (Jan. 11), starts today in the judicial hellhole of the Rio Grande Valley. (Lynn Brezosky, "Plaintiff paradise waits for Vioxx trial", AP, Jan. 22). However, the court is convening only four days a month, so the retrial of Plunkett v. Merck, which begins February 6 in New Orleans, will probably reach verdict first. Mark Lanier will try his second case starting February 27 in New Jersey before Judge Higbee. (Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, "A New Obstacle for Vioxx Case Attorneys: an Intermittent Trial Schedule", Texas Lawyer, Jan. 23).
Elsewhere in the world of Vioxx litigation, a Missouri state-court class action embarrassed itself when it discovered that the named plaintiff had never actually taken the drug. A new named plaintiff, presumably equally compliant with the attorneys really directing the litigation, was substituted in, and the Eighth Circuit has held that this substitution does not constitute a "commencement" for purposes of the Class Action Fairness Act. (Plubell v. Merck (hat-tip to A.T.)).