In the Texas State Court case involving Garza (a short term use case), yesterday the Court refused a Plaintiffs' request to ask jurors to decide during deliberations whether Merck had criminally caused the death of an elderly person.
What does the ruling mean? Merck, under Texas law, will now face at most a $750,000 capped award for punitive damages (if any). A ruling the other way would have taken all limits off.
The Plaintiff is Leonel Garza of Rio Grande City. He died of a heart attack in 2001 after taking Vioxx for no more than 24 days for arm pain. Merck has introduced evidence showing a 20+ year history of heart disease.
This is from Reuters, Yahoo, the local TX papers.