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Considering that the first trial in New Jersey lasted 8 weeks. This trial could take more than 6 months. How can a jury function like this? I'm sure that at the end of this trial, one side or the other will believe that the time between court dates will have hurt their case.


The Starr County case will be interesting. Starr County is the poorest county in Texas, and one of the poorest in the country, with probably only one or two reservation counties in South Dakota having lower per capita incomes. It's on the border, and in the absoulte middle of nowhere. Think scorpions and cactus. I'm sure Merck's Baker Botts attorneys are loving that.


Maybe you could shed some light on how these cases get to trial. I see that the plaintiff in this case only took Vioxx for somewhere between 1 and 3 weeks. He had a heart condition and was 71 years old. I would have thought that the first cases filed would have been the best cases. People that were in relatively good health and took the drug for 18 months or better, but this is the 3rd case where the plaintiff didnt meet the criteria of what most law firms are looking for in a Vioxx case. I doubt that this case was one of the first cases filed, so my question is: Who picks these cases to be heard? The judge? The defendant? Appearantly it's not the Plaintiff's attorneys.


Tom: I have no idea. The concept of the lawyers and the judge "picking" cases for trials presupposes that there are a lot of cases massed in a single forum under a single judge, as would be the case in New Jersey, California, or the federal MDL. In other jurisdictions, the process by which a case gets to trial is determined by the litigation dynamics of the particular forum. If you file a case, in other words, it's probably going to get to trial at some point, assuming it's not dismissed for some other reason along the way. It might be true of the Texas case that no one "picked" it for trial, but just that it was filed and worked up and then one of the parties or the judge set it for trial.

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