The first trial before Judge Fallon in the MDL (in Houston, TX) involving Vioxx has begun. Jury selection has been completed, with the jury including two teachers (1 who teaches Algebra, 1 who teaches Science) and one engineer.
The Court expects the trial to be wrapped up in three short weeks.
Andy Birchfield handled the opening statements in the case for the Plaintiff.
Merck's lawyers blame Irvin's death on his age, weight, clogged arteries and family history, and they will argue that company researchers found a link between Vioxx and heart problems only among people who used it for 18 months or more.
Irvin's ``obesity and sedentary lifestyle caused his death -- much like they do each year for tens of thousands of American men in their 50s who have never taken Vioxx,'' Merck's attorneys said in court filings.
The usage by the deceased in the case was for less than ninety days.