Friday, December 22, 2006

Texas Vioxx Verdict Stands, Though Amount Lowered

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Texas Jury's Vioxx Finding Stands, But Plaintiff Award Is Lowered, by Heather Won Tesoriero:

In a Vioxx case that has taken a number of unexpected twists and turns, a Texas state judge entered a judgment in favor of a plaintiff, although it reduced the $32 million award to $8.7 million under state law.

The judge rejected Merck & Co.'s request to reverse the jury's decision that Vioxx caused the plaintiff's heart attack.

In April, a Rio Grande City, Texas, jury awarded Felicia Garza and her sons $32 million after finding Merck liable for the death of Leonel Garza. In the months following the verdict, a woman not connected to the trial came forward and said that she had witnessed Mrs. Garza exchanging money with juror Jose Manuel Rios. In depositions, Mr. Rios said that he had borrowed thousands of dollars from Mrs. Garza over the years, but didn't have any outstanding debts at the time of the trial.

Merck conducted post-trial discovery in the matter and after reviewing bank and phone records, asserted that Mr. Rios borrowed $12,700 from Mrs. Garza and that there were more than a dozen calls between the Rios's phone and Mrs. Garza during the case.


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