Tuesday, February 5, 2013

BREAKING: Merck Hit With Relatively-Small Federal Jury Verdict In Scheinberg Fosamax® ONJ Case

In addition to being awarded only $285,000 by the jury, it is a "mixed verdict" insofar as the jury agreed with Merck, finding that Fosamax® is not a defectively-designed product. The jury did find that Merck failed to adequately warn about the risks -- and that the failure to warn was the proximate cause of Mrs. Scheinberg's dental problems.

More in a minute, but here's the first Reuters report:
. . . .The eight-person jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan found that Merck failed to warn plaintiff Rhoda Scheinberg's doctors of the risks associated with Fosamax. The jury rejected the plaintiff's argument that Fosamax was a defective product.

More than 4,000 lawsuits are pending in federal and state courts arising out of injuries allegedly caused by the one-time blockbuster medication. Seven cases have now gone to trial, and Merck has won five and lost two.

Lawyers for Scheinberg, a 69-year-old New York resident, contended Fosamax caused her to suffer delayed healing and a bone disease of the jaw after a tooth extraction. The jury found that Merck's failure to warn of the drug's risks was a cause of her injury. . . .
That makes Merck's record 4-2 in favor of no liability, thus far in the federal bellwether cases.

To put the Scheinberg verdict in perspective, consider that the orginal Boles verdict came in at $8 million -- it was reduced by motions made to the bench, and ultimately led to a confidential settled amount. So we won't ever know what the agreed value of Shirley Boles' claim was -- but I strongly suspect it was north of this verdict amount.

I'll now go puzzle out which Fosamax ONJ case is next, in the federal bellwether series, in Judge Keenan's Manhattan court house. As ever -- do stay tuned. New Jersey state trials are also scheduled -- I'll check on those.

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