Jury Returns Slightly Mixed Verdict in First Vioxx Trial

posted on:
April 4, 2007

author:
Staff

Recently, in what was called a slightly mixed verdict, and with the jurors giving Merck Co. a rebuke saying the company should have known more about the hazards of Vioxx, a Madison County jury still returned an unfavorable verdict for the Schwaller family in the wrongful death lawsuit of "Schwaller vs. Merck & Co." (Madison County, IL Case No. 05-L-687). The trial, which began just over a month ago and has drawn national attention, was the first Vioxx case to be tried in the Illinois Circuit Court in Madison County and the first anywhere in the Midwest. 

"This verdict does not send and obviously clear or strong position as to the future of litigation involving the pain killer Vioxx, or the future liability of Merck & Co.," Said Andy Crouppen. "When a jury appears to recognize the Merck had some responsibility for knowing more about the dangers of its pain-killing medicine Vioxx before putting it on the market, there is hope for a positive outcome for other cases as they are presented individually." Andy Crouppen is an attorney for Brown & Crouppen, the law firm representing Frank Schwaller, the plaintiff in the case and spouse of Patricia Schwaller.

The Madison County Jury found the giant drug-maker Merck & Co not liable for the August 8, 2003 fatal heart attack of Patricia Schwaller, a 52-year-old wife and mother of two. Schwaller had been taking the drug Vioxx for just over 20 months when she died suddenly of a heart attack. Schwaller was a long-time resident of Granite City, Ill in Madison County.

The law firm of Brown and Crouppen www.brownandcrouppen.com along with lawyers from the Watts Law Firm www.Wattslawfirm.com and Beasley Allen www.BeasleyAllen.com began the Schwaller vs. Merck & Co. Vioxx case on Tuesday, February 20, 2007. The jury Began deliberating the case late Monday, March 26, 2007 and rendered its verdict mid-morning on Tuesday March 27th.

Andy Crouppen also had this to say about the verdict. "On August 8th, 2003 Patricia Schwaller died, too young and too soon, setting off a chain of events that has brought us here today. It has been said that while our justice system is incredible it is sadly not infallible. While we respect the judicial process and the good intentions of this jury we must respectfully disagree with the verdict rendered. Frank Schwaller and his family suffered a loss beyond imagination and they did not receive the justice we believe they deserved. Today, at least for the moment, Goliath bested David. That doesn’t even sound right does it? Let me promise you this. There will be an appeal of this verdict and our unshakable believe that is that a higher court at a future time will grant a fair and just resolution to the Schwaller family.

Merck, the number of four (4) U.S. drug makers, withdrew Vioxx in 2004 when a study showed it raised the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Merck faces a reported 27,000 Vioxx lawsuits. Other Vioxx lawsuits have alleged that Merck & Co. failed to heed warning signs about the cardiovascular risk of its painkiller before rushing it to market, alleging that the popular pain-relieving drug Vioxx caused heart attacks.

Brown and Crouppen have a successful track record in Madison County, with a 19 million dollar verdict in a trial just two years ago. For more information about the firm please visit www.brownandcrouppen.com.

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