Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Judge Eldon Fallon (E.D. La.), who is overseeing the Vioxx MDL, yesterday ordered remittitur in the Barnett case. Last year, the plaintiff won a verdict of $51 million ($50 million compensatory plus $1 million punitive). The court found the amount excessive and, last August, ordered a new trial on damages. Yesterday, the court amended its order. At plaintiff's request, the court granted remittitur (obviously it's unusual for a plaintiff to ask for remittitur, but in this case the alternative was a new trial on damages). Specifically, the court ordered a new trial unless the plaintiff accepted a reduced damage award of $1.6 million ($600,000 compensatory plus $1 million punitive); the judge determined that $600,000 was the highest amount a jury could reasonably have awarded for compensatory damages. Here's the AP story in the Houston Chronicle -- Vioxx Plaintiff Can Get Damages or Retry.