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Vioxx trial update

The California court declared a mistrial after the jury froze at 7-5 in favor of Merck. Retrial will be in April. (Edvard Pettersson, "Merck Gets a Mistrial in Los Angeles Vioxx Cases", Bloomberg, Jan. 18). Merck writes:

As of September 30, 2006, the claims related to more than 3,000 alleged VIOXX users have been dismissed before being scheduled for trial. Of those, more than 1,100 were dismissed with prejudice either by plaintiffs themselves or by judges, meaning they cannot be filed again. Another 2,000 were dismissed without prejudice.

Of the 28 plaintiffs whose claims have been scheduled for trial, including the two plaintiffs in this trial, the claims of six were dismissed, the claims of seven were withdrawn from the trial calendar by plaintiffs, juries have decided in Merck's favor nine times and in plaintiffs� favor four times, and there have been three mistrials (one of which has since been retried to a verdict). A state judge set aside one of the nine Merck verdicts.

As for the four plaintiffs� verdicts, Merck already has filed an appeal or sought judicial review in each of those cases, and in one of those four, a federal judge overturned the damage award shortly after trial.

A ten-person jury, including four casino workers, has been selected for the consolidated New Jersey trial of plaintiffs Humeston and Hermans (Jan. 17).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.