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Appell and Arrigale v. Merck

A California state jury began deliberating Wednesday after a month and a half of Vioxx trial in the cases of Lawrence Appell and Rudolph Arrigale. The plaintiffs have had good luck here: not only did Judge Victoria Chaney consolidate wildly unrelated cases (a 2000 heart attack after 18 months of use and a 2002 heart attack after 4.5 months of use), maximizing the chance of jury confusion, but jurors are notoriously more likely to be charitable to plaintiffs in the week around Christmas. A verdict is likely today, because jurors will not want to have to worry about this case over Christmas.

�These cases are very different except for one thing: both of these plaintiffs were at increased risk for heart injuries regardless of whether they were taking VIOXX,� said Thomas Yoo of Reed Smith, a defense lawyer representing Merck. �Mr. Appell had significant risk factors prior to his heart attack, including hypertension, cholesterol problems, obesity, as well as a family history of heart attacks at relatively young ages.

�Mr. Arrigale suffered a cardiac arrest in March 2002 that was caused by advanced coronary heart disease. Mr. Arrigale had serious vascular disease for more than 25 years, a family history of heart problems, and suffered a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease in the early 1980s.�

Press coverage has not seen fit to examine why Appell, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona, is getting to try his case in a Los Angeles courtroom.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.