Tort Law

Vioxx Plaintiff Offered Reduced Award

A former FBI agent who sued the maker of Vioxx for causing his heart attack has a choice: Accept an award of $1.6 million, rather than the $51 million awarded by a jury, or try the case again.

Mark Robinson, a lawyer for the plaintiff, told the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) he thinks his client should accept the reduced figure.

Robinson represents plaintiff Gerald Barnett, who was awarded $51 million last August. U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon of New Orleans threw out that verdict as grossly excessive soon afterward and ordered a new trial on damages. He set the $1.6 million figure on Tuesday at Robinson’s request.

The attorney for defendant Merck & Co. plans to appeal in any event because it does not believe its drug caused Barnett’s heart attack, according to Associated Press.

Professor Howard M. Erichson of Seton Hall Law School told the Associated Press the judge is sending a message to plaintiffs that they “shouldn’t expect to hit a massive jackpot” in Vioxx cases.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.