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Report of Shouting Jurors, Thrown Chair Spurs Fosamax Judge to Order Time Out

Posted Sep 10, 2009 9:23 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Manhattan judge overseeing the first Fosamax federal product liability trial has ordered a cooling-off period after one lawyer reported hearing shouting from the jury room and a juror reportedly claimed someone threw a chair at her.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John Keenan ordered jurors to take a day off deliberations and told court security officers to escort jurors to the subway, according to Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires and Bloomberg News.

Lawyer Timothy O’Brien, who represents the plaintiff, asked for a mistrial. He told Keenan that shouting could be heard coming from the jury room several times during deliberations. Paul Strain, the lawyer for Fosamax maker Merck & Co., mentioned a juror’s note claiming that she was being intimidated and someone had thrown a chair at her. Strain said the claim was not substantiated, and a note signed by seven other jurors didn’t support her allegations.

The plaintiff in the suit, retired deputy sheriff Shirley Boles, claims that deterioration of her jaw bone was caused by nine years of taking Fosamax. The case is the first of about 900 pending suits to go to trial.

Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

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