John McDarby, a retired insurance agent who was 77 at the time of the April 2006 trial, was awarded $3 million for pain and suffering and his wife was awarded $1.5 million. Thomas Cona, a 60-year-old businessman who was stricken on a golf course after what he said was nearly two years of Vioxx use, received only $45 to compensate him for the cost of his medication.
Merck, however, sought new trials, arguing there was insufficient evidence to suggest any failure to warn. The drugmaker is attempting to fend off every one of the 27,000 Vioxx lawsuits, but with mixed resullts so far. Merck has won 10 and lost five lawsuits in federal or state courts, although one federal trial may be overturned if the plaintiff chooses to accept a lower award.
In her 62-page ruling, Higbee wrote "the evidence at trial was more than sufficient to support the jury's finding."