Pretrial motions continued on Tuesday for the upcoming second product-liability trial involving Merck & Co.’s withdrawn arthritis drug, Vioxx, this time in a New Jersey state court.
Jury selection for the new trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 12 in the Atlantic City courtroom of Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee. During preliminaries on Monday, she denied a request by Merck to delay the trial by 45 days.
The drug maker had requested the delay because of what it termed a “torrent” of bad publicity from the recently concluded first Vioxx trial in Texas. In that case the widow of a man who died after taking Vioxx for eight months was awarded $253 million.
The New Jersey case, one of nearly 5,000 Vioxx-related state and federal lawsuits Merck faces, was filed by Frederick Humeston of Boise, Idaho. The 60-year-old postal carrier and Vietnam War veteran contends Vioxx was responsible for his 2001 heart attack.