$40M award sought in Vioxx lawsuit

In his closing arguments in the first Vioxx trial yesterday, attorney W. Mark Lanier told jurors that Carol Ernst should receive $40 million in compensatory damages from drug giant Merck for the death of her husband, Robert. The Houston lawyer said "punitive damages should be many times that." Jurors begin their deliberations today. The trial is being closely watched by lawyers and analysts around the country for indications of what the future may hold for Merck. More than 4,000 people have filed lawsuits against Merck out of the estimated 20 million who took the drug. Legal analysts say a blockbuster jury award will probably lead to a wave of thousands of "me too" lawsuits.

- see this story from The New York Times