A $7.75 million jury award over the Merck & Co. drug Vioxx will stand after a judge let the company’s request for a new trial expire.

Merck made the request after learning that shortly before the trial, one of the jurors took a cash loan from the widow of Leonel Garza, who died in 2001 at age 71 after taking Vioxx.

State District Judge Alex Gabert did not act on Merck’s bid for a new trial within the 75-day time limit, his clerk confirmed Thursday, which effectively denies the request. The time limit expired Monday.

A spokesman for Merck’s outside legal counsel said there would be an appeal.

The jury last year awarded $32 million to Garza’s family. The verdict was reduced by state caps on noneconomic damages.

Merck argued during the trial that Garza had a 23-year history of heart disease beginning with a quadruple bypass in 1989 and had taken Vioxx only 17 days.

But Garza’s attorneys said Garza had just been told his veins had been cleared and that a stress test showed less than a 2 percent risk of heart attack within a year.

They touted the verdict as the first case in the country where a jury found short-term usage of Vioxx to be causative in heart attacks.

Plaintiff attorney Luis Cardenas in December called Merck’s motion for retrial “pretty standard.” He did not immediately return a call Thursday.

 

 



We're here to help!

We live by our creed of “helping those who need it most” and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked * may be required for submission.


Respectful, understanding, efficient and compassionate

Beasley Allen is one of the most professional organizations I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They are respectful, understanding, efficient, and above all compassionate. They take the best care of their clients in every way possible. They keep us informed and aware of things involved in their clients cases. Their counsel is stellar in the industry. I would highly recommend them to others in their time of need and I have done so.

—Chad