The first federal Vioxx lawsuit ended today in a mistrial. U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a required unanimous verdict after 18 hours of deliberations. The nine person jury recessed on Saturday with five votes for the Plaintiff and four for Merck. Judge Fallon that the jury deliberated for a reasonable amount of time and entered the mistrial. The parties meet next week to determine the next trial date.
Although not a victory for the Plaintiff, it is clearly a blow to Merck’s momentum after their victory in New Jersey. The plaintiff in this case used Vioxx intermittently for only 28 days before the heart attack, and is considered a weak case for the Plaintiff. Considering the recent news of even more Merck malfeasance, the added evidence could tip the scales in favor of the Plaintiff.