There are several excellent AP service reports on the first day of the Vioxx trial that began in Houston TX today. I've attached the link to the one offered by the WSJ online, which if you are in the legal or settlement community I strongly suggest you spend the few dollars it takes to get complete access. Their reporting on medical and product liability is with out paralel.
No real earth shaking news, just a quick jury seating, less then 2 hours and Attorney Andy Birchfield's opening statement. It's obvious that the arguments on this are going to revolve largely around whether a man taking Vioxx for a short duration was impacted to the degree that one day his staff walked in on him dead, slumped over his desk. He apparently had no prior heart issues, never sick a day, but an autopsy showed over 60% blockage in one artery, a fact that Attorney Birchfield disclosed and acknowledged in his opening.
This case doesn't favor the plaintiff at all, based on the NJ trial, and if somehow the plaintiff team plus out a win here it will be yet another major blow to Merck's defense strategy. However, the early analysis is that it is a fact pattern that favors the defense, but always, we will wait and see.
For an audio update via our podcasts on Civil Action Radio, check the Legal Broadcast Network website and go to Attorney Daniel Becnel's analysis and reporting on this and other mass tort litigation.