Vioxx litigation resumes
While recent months have meant setbacks to Vioxx victims and victories for Merck, in a favorable decision to the victims, a New Jersey appellate court has ruled against the company, potentially allowing some more class action lawsuits to go forward.
In related news, after a break for Christmas holidays, Vioxx litigation is resuming in the court of NJ Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee, who is presiding over most of the approximately 27,000 cases.
One plaintiff is Frederick "Mike" Humeston, a decorated Vietnam veteran, who first lost his case because Merck hid critical data about the dangers of the painkiller. He eventually won a retrial and the trial is now on.
The second lawsuit has been fined by the estate of Brian Hermans, who died of a heart attack at an early age of 44. While Merck has won some cases arguing that victims were already obese and had pre-existing cardiovascular complications, it may be somewhat harder to claim that in this case. Hermans was "a world-class racquetball player" whose autopsy showed a heart artery blocked by a large blood clot (something that Vioxx is known to do). The attorney taking on Merck is Mark Lanier, who also defended Carol Ernst.