Monday, July 11, 2005

Jury selection starts in Vioxx case in Texas

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Jury selection in first of thousands of lawsuits against Merck & Co.'s
Vioxx began on Monday as the drug giant sought to defend itself against claims that it hid the risks of the popular painkiller. The case in a Texas state court in Angleton, near Houston, pits the family of deceased Texan Robert Ernst against the big drugmaker, which pulled Vioxx off the market in September after studies showed prolonged use could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The lawsuit could help determine the direction litigation will take in the other state courts in New Jersey, California and Texas, and in the U.S. federal court in New Orleans, a legal expert said."The first case has a lot of impact on what comes afterward," said Chip Babcock, a partner at law firm Jackson Walker LLP in Houston.


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