MERCK WINS A ROUND . . . From the Associated Press, "Jury Finds for Merck in Vioxx Case"--
Merck & Co. won a major victory in the battle over its Vioxx painkiller Thursday when a New Jersey state jury found that the drugmaker properly warned consumers about the risks of the medication. The finding means Merck won't be held liable for the 2001 heart attack suffered by a man taking Vioxx.
After deliberating for less than eight hours over three days, the jury cleared Merck of allegations it failed to warn consumers about the drug's risks and engaged in "unconscionable commercial practices" in marketing it to doctors and their patients.
If there's a winner on the plaintiffs' side, it's Mark Lanier, the lawyer who won the first trial for his client in Texas. He's looking pretty good right now. Even so, comparisons between Lanier and Chris Seeger, the plaintiff's lawyer in New Jersey, are unfair. Seeger is a competent lawyer who was well-prepared for his case. While there will be many theories as to why the results in the two cases were different, analyzing those results based solely on the respective lawyers is too simplistic. Behind the scenes, of course, that's exactly what plaintiffs' lawyers around the country will be doing. But aren't trash-talking and chest-thumping better left to rap stars, professional wrestlers, and U.S. Congressmen?