Friday, October 28, 2005

Humeston Vioxx Trial #2: Handicapping the Verdict

Closing arguments are going on now in case number two involving a man who had suffered a Heart Attack. The trial is only the 2nd to date.

What may be the result? Given that the man took it for less than three months, is back to work, and is from many accounts in good shape from a physical appearance - that coupled with the juror makeup for this case -

I think a verdict in excess of $200,000 is a decent win. Of course it cost more than that to get this case ready, but that is a win. A verdict from $400K to $600K would mean bad news for Merck in more ways than one. Valuing for business purposes this case - short ingestion period, MI with claimant back to work - in that range will make others with similar cases comfortable with the value of a claim of an injured client.

Best case: Zero verdict obviously for Merck. If the verdict is less than $100K that may or may not help. It would need to be less than $50,000 in order for Merck to claim a win in a verdict against it.

Best case, Plaintiff: If the verdict is in excess of $1M, watch out.

My guesstimate: 20% chance it's a defense verdict. If it's a Plaintiff's verdict, it will be between $250,000 and $600,000.

Can any trial attorney say that this is not the most worrisome part of the trial? When a juror is making the real closing argument?