July 31, 2009

Hold the Gravy: No Punitive Damages in Fosamax Litigation

Bloomberg is reporting that U.S. District Judge John Keenan intends to dismiss the plaintiffs' punitive damages claims in a massive lawsuit against Merck & Co.

The lawsuit alleges that Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax causes irreversible "jaw rot." (I don't know exactly what that is, but it doesn't sound good.) Merck is facing more than 850 lawsuits over Fosamax. Judge Keenan's ruling comes in connection with three bellwether trials set to begin on August 11.

The plaintiffs' lawyers are downplaying the dismissal of their punitive damages claim. "The punitive damages are just the gravy," said plaintiffs' counsel Timothy O'Brien.