Friday, November 19, 2010

Fosamax® Jury: Merck Not Liable For Mrs. Graves' Injuries

It would seem that we know now -- prior to our turkeys even being purchased -- per a press release from Whitehouse Station -- on the Graves Fosamax® outcome:

. . . .Merck & Co., Inc. today said a federal court jury in New York found in its favor in the Graves v. Merck case, rejecting the claims of a Florida woman who blamed her dental and jaw related problems on her FOSAMAX use. With today's verdict, Merck has won three of the first four bellwether cases in the FOSAMAX litigation. . . .

[Editor's Nota Bene: Merck lost Boles II to the tune of $8 million; subsequently reduced to $1.5 million -- now due for a retrial (Boles III) on damages alone, before a jury.]

"Unfortunately, the plaintiff had multiple medical conditions that can cause people to develop jaw and dental problems, regardless of whether they were taking FOSAMAX." [Merck's lawyers said.] The plaintiff in this case alleged she used FOSAMAX from 2001 to 2004 and that she suffered various jaw problems and complications following a tooth extraction in March 2003, including several surgeries to treat her condition. . . .

This is the third FOSAMAX case to go to trial. The first case to be tried to a verdict, Maley v. Merck, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck in May 2010. The second case to be tried to a verdict, Boles v. Merck, initially resulted in a mistrial in September 2009 after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. A retrial of that case in June 2010 resulted in a plaintiff verdict, which has since been reduced by Judge Keenan and which Merck is appealing. The Graves case was selected by the MDL for a bellwether trial to replace the Flemings v. Merck case that was dismissed when the court granted Merck's motion for summary judgment. The judgment dismissing the Flemings case was affirmed on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in November 2010. As of September 30, 2010, approximately 1,180 cases, which include approximately 1,560 plaintiff groups, had been filed and were pending against Merck in either federal or state court. . . .

No word yet on whether Mrs. Graves will appeal the verdict.

Next up? Secrest v. Merck & Co., Inc., 06-cv-06292, which is scheduled for trial on March 14, 2011. Then Hester v. Merck & Co., Inc., 06-cv-9450, which is scheduled for trial on May 9, 2011. Somewhere in between those two, or perhaps even before them, Boles III -- on the sole issue of damages -- will be tried to a jury. We will keep you informed.

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