Merck Pharmaceutical Company is attempting to sever two Vioxx defective drug cases scheduled to begin trial on February 27, 2006. Thomas Cona and John McDarby both allege to have suffered heart attacks after taking Vioxx for more than two years, and their cases are set to be tried together in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, in a motion to sever the cases, Merck argues that the facts are too different and trying them together will confuse the jury. This recent tactic is in line with Merck’s plans to have separate trials for each of the more than 4, 200 New Jersey Vioxx cases. At the request of plaintiffs’ lawyers, Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee, who is in charge of the New Jersey Vioxx cases, has agreed to consolidate similar cases for trial. However, Merck has indicated that it plans to oppose such consolidation. No doubt, the pharmaceutical company believes that trying each case separately will wear down plaintiffs and their attorneys, and further delay the award of compensation to individuals who have suffered injury from using Vioxx.
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