As the Cona/McDarby Vioxx jury continues to deliberate in New Jersey, the next federal trial, scheduled for June 12, will no longer feature plaintiff Ellis Maximo Diaz, who is dropping his case. Merck argues that this shows Diaz knew his case was weak, while plaintiff's attorney Bonnie Zakotnik claims that she couldn't prepare for trial by June 12. (AP, Apr. 5). If Zakotnik was telling the truth, and Diaz's case had any merit, she'd be guilty of malpractice for failing to refer the case to any of a number of plaintiffs' attorneys who would be ready to try the case, so one can draw one's own conclusions for the dismissal. (Update: Peter Lattman has more.)
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the jury has requested to see Vioxx samples. The plaintiffs' attorneys want the jury to see individual blister packets, rather than the boxes given to medical offices complete with warnings. (Peter Loftus, "Vioxx Jury Asks to See Sample Packet of Drug", Wall $treet Journal, Apr. 5). Long-time Overlawyered favorite Benedict Morelli did the closing arguments along with Mark Lanier. (Heather Won Tesoriero, "Merck Vioxx Case Is Sent to Jury As Lawyers Give Final Arguments", Wall $treet Journal, Apr. 4).
Sam has already blogged about the New Jersey appellate court decision affirming certification of a third-party-payor class action, but Peter Lattman has more details, as well as a link to the court opinion. But this is as good a place as any to mention Michael Greve's Harm-Less Lawsuits? monograph.