Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Merck guilty again

Form news accounts:
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) - A state jury found Merck & Co. liable Friday for the death of a 71-year-old man who had a fatal heart attack within a month of taking its since-withdrawn painkiller Vio and ordered the company to pay $32 million. Merck said it would appeal.

The damage award will likely be reduced because of a state law capping punitive damages.

The jury of 10 men and two women deliberated for about seven hours over two days before returning the verdict in favor of the family of Leonel Garza, who had suffered from heart disease for more than 20 years and had taken Vio for less than a month.

The company was ordered to pay $7 million in noneconomic compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.

But the punitive damage amount is likely to be reduced because state law caps punitive damages at twice the amount of economic damages -- lost pay -- and up to $750,000 on top of noneconomic damages, which are composed of mental anguish and loss of companionship.
Sponsored in part by Vioxx Lawyers.

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