Monday, October 23, 2006
Based on Merck's report last Friday, Wall Street Journal reporter Heather Won Tesoriero noted on the WSJ Law Blog that Merck's legal expenses defending against Vioxx claims amount to over $1 million per day: "Thus far this year, the company has spent $325 million on legal costs for Vioxx. By our math, that’s $1.11 million a day from Jan. 1 to today."
Tesoriero also commented on Judge Higbee's recent order that Merck disclose its attorneys' fees for one New Jersey case:
We’ve often wondered what a single trial costs for both plaintiffs and defense. Merck hasn’t broken down its costs per trial, but earlier this week, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee ordered Merck to produce all of its legal bills and expenses in a two-plaintiff consolidated trial that resulted in a split verdict earlier this year. Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, if a jury finds in favor of the plaintiff on consumer fraud charges, the defense must foot the plaintiffs’ legal bills. Plaintiffs’ firms the Lanier Law Firm and Weitz & Luxenberg billed $5.6 million. Merck balked at paying and now Judge Higbee wants to see the company’s bills, for in camera review to determine what may be reasonable.
She invited blog readers to predict the defense costs for the trial, but so far has gotten no takers.