In the Cona and McDarby cases, the New Jersey Appellate Division, an intermediate appellate court, overturned the punitive damage award as well as the consumer fraud award, and let stand the compensatory damages for personal injury to Mr. McDarby. In reversing the consumer fraud verdict, the court also rejected the attorneys fees granted to the plaintiffs' attorneys.
As a result, the court overturned more than $13 million in damages and attorneys fees. In the trial, which resulted in a partial victory for Merck, the Company presented evidence that both of the heart attacks were caused, not by VIOXX, but by the pre-existing medical conditions of the two men. While the jury found that VIOXX did not cause Mr. Cona's heart attack, it found in favor of Mr. McDarby, awarding him both compensatory and punitive damages.
The jury awarded both men the out of pocket costs associated with their purchases of VIOXX under the consumer fraud statute. Today's decision overturns that award as well.
Status of Litigation
Merck has won the large majority of cases that have gone to trial and thousands of lawsuits have been dismissed. Of the 18 plaintiffs whose cases went to trial, only three have outstanding product liability judgments against Merck.
Merck has entered into an agreement to resolve state and federal myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke claims filed or tolled by Nov. 9, 2007. The settlement program is progressing in a satisfactory manner. Because of the large number of enrollments received so far, Merck is confident that the number of verified enrollments will exceed the thresholds that will obligate the Company to pay $4.85 billion into a resolution fund.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved