Monday, April 24, 2006

Vioxx Verdict

As you probably know, the Vioxx lawsuit in Rio Grande City attracted national attention -- especially once jurors rendered a $32 million verdict ($7 million in actual damages and $25 million in punitive damages) against Merck, the maker of the now-recalled painkiller.

Over at, a legal blog, attorney Ted Frank, director of the pro-business American Enterprise Institute's Liability Project, mentions the lack of evidence that the medication even caused the death of the man whose family sued.
Not just that Leonel Garza was a 71-year-old smoker who was overweight, had high cholesterol, and previous had both a heart attack and a quadruple bypass, yet was awarded $7 million in "compensatory" damages.

But the fact of the matter is that there is no documentary evidence that Garza was even taking Vioxx. Garza never had a prescription for Vioxx [but had received samples of the drug from his doctor].
Frank also points out the plaintiff's political and family connections to the Starr County jury pool.
Mr. Garza's family was well-known in Starr County, where the case was tried; a huge percentage of the jury pool indicated they knew his family. But Merck failed in its efforts to remove the case to a federal court where the case could be tried fairly, because the plaintiffs had fraudulently joined the two doctors as defendants [link in the original post], even though they dropped them from the case.
Frank needs to understand that we do things a little bit differently in the Valley. Of course, an appeals court will likely reduce the verdict anyway.


Blogger Shaine Mata said...

thanks for the finding more details.

3:34 PM  
Blogger pugsley dibrute said...

A man in his 70's ALREADY in poor health , over two decades of heart problems , due his lifestyle , and ,of course, a south texas "jury", this was trouble from the get go . Evidence? What's THAT ? Taco sauce ? It just goes to show that not only do we have unsophisticated ,"ignant" VOTERS dwon here, we also have unsophisticated "ignant" JURORS ,down here ! A silver lining in all this is that the "lawyers" will get their 40, 40% that is ! Is it any wonder Mexico makes fun of us?

6:58 AM  

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