Defense Victory will aid Merck in Defeating Motions to Certify other Lawsuits as Class Actions in the 265 Pending Class Action Lawsuits Involving Vioxx
Bruce Japsen of the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that a jury in plaintiff-friendly Madison County has ruled in favor of Merck in a Vioxx case, handing Merck its first win in the Midwest and 10th defense verdict overall. Japsen notes that Merck “has pledged to defend the Vioxx cases one by one, and has so far had only five defeats.” But the fight is far from over: Merck still faces 265 class action lawsuits in addition to 27,000 individual lawsuits. The risks are substantial: in one of its losses, the jury reportedly awarded the plaintiff more than $20 million.
The Madison County victory is important because it supports Merck’s argument that each case is different and so must be tried on a case by case basis. In the Madison County case, for example, the jury found that Vioxx was not the cause of the heart attack that killed a 5’2” tall, 280-pound 52-year-old woman, whose obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, along with other health problems, likely contributed to her death. The deceased had used Vioxx for 20 months.
In prior articles, we have noted that Merck removed Vioxx from the market in 2004 because of increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Bruce Japsen’s article, entitled “10th win for Merck on Vioxx – Madison County jury gives drug giant 1st Midwest victory,” may be found in the Business Section of the March 28, 2007 edition of the Chicago Tribune.