August 19, 2005
Merck Found Liable, Jury Award $253.4M
The Associated Press has just reported that a Texas jury has found Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK) liable for the death of Rober Ernst. Jurors awarded Ernst's widow $253.4 million in damages. The $253.4M damage package includes lost pay as a Wal-Mart produce manager, mental anguish, loss of companionship and punitives. The package includes a $24 million penalty to the widow for mental anguish and loss of companionship and $229 million in punatives. Plaintiff's lawyer Mark Lanier expects that the punitive damage award will be reduced based on Texas punitive damage laws.
The 12 person jury deliberated for 10 1/2 hours before deciding that Merck was to blame for Ernst's death.
This is the first of what will be many trials against the New Jersey based Merck. For those interested in its effect on the stock price, MRK is currently down 3.16% or 96 cents to 29.45. Short the stock. We are about to witness another slow painful corporate death by a swarm of plaintiffs' attorneys.
August 19, 2005 | Permalink
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