United States District Judge Eldon Fallon, sitting in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisana, awarded $1.6 million dollars to a former FBI agent who suffered a heart attack after using Vioxx. The jury verdict of $51 million was tossed by the judge last year, however Judge Fallon reversed himself. He awarded $600,000 compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. The agent Gerald Barnett can accept the $1.6 million award or have a new trial on damages only. His attorney said he’d recommend Barnett accept the award.
Merck, based in New Jersey, faces 27,000 cases of persons who sustained heart attacks or strokes. More than 15,000 of those cases are pending in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Merck continues to say they will try each and every case. They withdrew Vioxx from the world-wide market on September 30, 2004 when it became apparent that Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes.