Friday, June 6, 2008

Vioxx Appellate Opinion: Merck & Co. v. Ernst (Tex.App.- Houston 2008)

Houston Court of Appeals Overturns Jury's Damages Award in Vioxx case.

UPDATE: This opinion was withdrawn by the Court and replaced with a new one on June 4, 2009. The result remains the same.

Merck & Co., Inc. v. Ernst , No. 14-06-00835-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] May 29, 2008)(Hedges) (product liability, Vioxx jury award overturned, insufficient evidence of causal link)
Opinion written by Chief Justice Hedges
Members of the panel: Chief Justice Adele Hedges, Justices John Anderson and Justice Jeff Brown
Full appellate case style: Merck & Co., Inc. v. Carol A. Ernst, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Robert Charles Ernst, Deceased
Trial Court: 23rd District Court of Brazoria County
Trial Court Judge: Ben Hardin
Disposition: Reversed and Rendered

Merck & Co., Inc., appeals from a jury verdict in a personal-injury and wrongful-death suit filed by Carol Ernst in which she alleged that ingestion of Vioxx caused the sudden cardiac death of her husband, Bob Ernst. Merck raises four issues in which it challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury’s verdict on causation, strict liability, negligence, malice, and damages. Merck further contends that the trial court erred in instructing the jury and in admitting certain evidence. Finding the evidence to be legally insufficient on the issue of causation, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and render judgment that appellee take nothing.

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