Humeston v. Merck Verdict: Will The Jury Weigh In For The Plaintiff or Defense?
Today, after a seven-week trial, a New Jersey state court jury in the Humeston v. Merck Vioxx case should hear closing arguments from the plaintiff and defense attorneys. Thereafter, the jury will begin their deliberations about whether to hold Merck liable in this closely watched Vioxx trial.
The closing arguments had been scheduled for this past Friday, but were postponed until today in order to allow time for the plaintiff and defense lawyers to meet with New Jersey State Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee for the purpose of discussing jury instructions and other legal issues. It was reported that, in part, the lawyers met with Judge Higbee to discuss jury instructions for New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act and New Jersey's Products Liability Act, the statutory bases for the legal claims in the Humeston v. Merck case.
As background, Idaho postal worker Frederick "Mike" Humeston sued Merck & Co. for the heart attack he suffered Sept. 18, 2001. At this New Jersey Vioxx trial, Merck apparently acknowledged that there is a link between Vioxx and heart attacks, but only after 18 months of Vioxx use. Merck's defense in the Humeston case, however, is that Mr. Humeston took Vioxx for only two months. Moreover, Merck asserts that Mr. Humeston had the 2001 heart attack because of his own health problems, not as a result of taking Vioxx.
After the Octorber 31, 2005 closing arguments, Judge Higbee will instruct the jury on the relevant legal issues, and then the jury will begin their deliberations in Humeston v. Merck.
We will keep you posted on the outcome of this second Vioxx trial.
(Posted by: Tom Lamb)