June 3, 2008
Court of Civil Appeals of Texas Reverses Vioxx Case Judgment Against Merck & Co.
On May 29, the Court of Civil Appeals of Texas overturned a plaintiff's judgment in Merck & Co. v. Ernst, a Vioxx case tried in Brazoria County. The decedent's estate filed suit against Merck alleging that the decedent's ingestion of Vioxx caused a myocardial infarction triggered by a blood clot. The jury verdict awarded compensatory damages of $24,450,000 and exemplary damages in the amount of $229,000,000. The trial court reduced the exemplary damages and entered judgment for the estate in the amount of $26,100,000. Merck argued on appeal that the evidence on causation was insufficient. The court of appeals agreed and reversed:
The epidemiological evidence supports the conclusion that Vioxx use at a certain dose and duration is associated with an increased risk of thrombotic cardiovascular events. The experts' speculation that a clot “could have” existed, but “could have” dissolved, been dislodged, or fragmented gives rise to nothing more than conjecture. Crediting all favorable evidence that reasonable jurors could believe and disregarding all contrary evidence except that which they could not ignore, we find no evidence that Ernst suffered a thrombotic cardiovascular event, i.e., a myocardial infarction triggered by a blood clot.
June 3, 2008 | Permalink
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