Merck is considering an appeal after a Texas state appeals court reversed its own prior dismissal of a $7.75 M judgment in a Vioxx personal injury lawsuit against the drugmaker.
A three-judge panel of the Texas 4th Court of Appeals ruled there should be a new trial in the case. The plaintiff, a longtime smoker with a history of heart disease, died of a heart attack in 2001 after taking Vioxx briefly.
The three judges sent the case back to the original trial court, where a jury in 2006 had awarded $32 million to the man’s widow. That amount was cut to about $7.75 million under a Texas law limiting damages.
Then last May, the three-judge panel overturned the verdict and threw out the award, saying there was insufficient evidence Vioxx caused the man’s heart attack to support the verdict. The family’s attorneys had argued that two physical examinations showed he had “stable cardiac status” before taking Vioxx and that his fatal heart attack was caused by the unusual simultaneous formation of two blood clots, “the type of problem caused by Vioxx,” according to the ruling.
In the first trial, the family was awarded $25 million in punitive damages, later knocked down to about $750,000, plus $7 million in compensatory damages.
Since then, new evidence has come to light, that Merck had misrepresented data on the safety of Vioxx in some publications and had ghostwriters prepare manuscripts for journal publications on some of its Vioxx studies.
Merck pulled Vioxx from the market in September 2004 because the painkiller significantly increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. That triggered an avalanche of lawsuits against Merck, which has begun paying out on a $4.85 billion settlement to end the bulk of the personal injury suits.
If you or a family member has been injured because of the fault of someone else; by negligence, personal injury, slip and fall, car accident, medical malpractice, trucking accident, drunk driving, bad product, toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Product Liabilty Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.