Sunday, January 21, 2007
Opening statements are set to begin tomorrow in a two-plaintiff New Jersey Vioxx trial. The consolidated trial has shrunk from "up to ten" plaintiffs (Oct. 11) to a suggested nine (Oct. 18) to a roster of eight (JLB Dec. 21) to four (Jan. 9) to the current two. What appeared a few months ago to be a significant development in Vioxx trial aggregation turns out to be just another two-plaintiff trial, as we've seen before with the Cona-McDarby trial in New Jersey and the Appell-Arrigale trial in California.
According to the Vioxx Trial Information sheet posted on the court's website, Judge Higbee apparently still plans on a bifurcated trial, with the first phase addressing liability for failure to warn and the second phase addressing individual causation and damages.
The two remaining cases are the retrial of the Humeston case, in which the court vacated the earlier judgment against Idaho plaintiff Frederick (Mike) Humeston after the appearance of a New England Journal of Medicine editorial challenging Merck's data, and a wrongful death case brought by the sister of Brian Hermans of Wisconsin. Point of Law has more.