Next Vioxx Case Goes to Court Late January 2006 In Starr County, Texas
The nation’s fourth Vioxx trial against Merck & Co. concerning its recalled painkiller Vioxx is reportedly set to begin, with jury selection, on January 24, 2006, in a Texas state court located in Starr County. This Vioxx wrongful death lawsuit was originally set for trial in February 2005, which would have made it the first Vioxx trial in the U.S. Various procedural developments and tactics, however, got that trial delayed.
The family of 71-year-old Leonel Garza, who resided in Rio Grande City, Texas, alleges in their lawsuit that his fatal heart attack is the result of using Vioxx for one month. A 12-member jury in Starr County, Texas will hear competing evidence presented by lawyers for the respective parties, and then determine whether Merck and/or two McAllen, Texas doctors and/or a Harlingen, Texas medical clinic -- all of whom have been named as defendants in the case -- should be held legally liable for Mr. Garza's heart attack and death.
In more detail, the Garza Vioxx trial will take place in the Texas state court system's 259th judicial district, with State District Court Judge Alex Gabert presiding. Observers estimate that jury selection and presentation of evidence in the Garza case could take a month, such that there would not be a jury verdict until about March 1, 2006.
Meanwhile, during the expected course of the Garza trial, two other Vioxx cases will begin. The first, a re-trial of the federal court MDL Irvin / Plunkett case, is set to start in New Orleans on February 6, 2006. The second is a New Jersey state court consolidation of two Vioxx personal injury cases, Cona and McDarby, scheduled to begin in Atlantic County, NJ on February 27, 2006.
These next three Vioxx trials will, no doubt, be closely watched by all persons with any interest in the Vioxx litigation.
(Posted by: Tom Lamb)