Judge Carol Higbee cut down the number from four to two in Atlantic City, where opening arguments at the trial are set for January 22, 2007. Merck has been seeking to try each case individually rather than in a group.
Jurors at the next trial will hear the case that was already tried, Frederick Humeston. He survived a heart attack in 2001 after taking 56 Vioxx pills.
Attorney Mark Lanier will try the next Plaintiff's case for Kathleen Hermans Messerschmidt, whose brother, Brian Hermans, died of a heart attack in 2002 after taking Vioxx for almost seven months.
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