Friday, August 19, 2005

 

Jury Awards $253.4 Million

Angleton, TX—Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you already know that the jury awarded plaintiffs $253.4 million in the nation’s first Vioxx trial. Merck has told the media that it plans to appeal.

The award includes punitive damages of $229 million and $24.4 million in actual damages. Under Texas law, punitive damages of $229 million will be reduced by operation of law to less than $2 million. Assuming costs of $1 million and attorneys’ fees of 40%, the plaintiffs could receive as much as $15 million.

The verdict will impact the momentum of the more than 4200 pending Vioxx cases. Likely more will be filed and demands for settlement will increase. The next trial is set for September in Atlantic City, New Jersey. If that trial is also lost, we may see a shift in emphasis by Merck from litigation to settlement.

Following the verdict, Merck's stock traded down more than 8%.

Many thanks to everyone who read this blog and to those at the trial site who shared their views, thoughts and notes about the trial. I have received numerous E-mails from around the country about the blog and knowing that people were reading made blogging worthwhile.

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