August 20, 2005
Verdict uplifts Calgary lawyers
By DAVE BREAKENRIDGE, Calgary Sun
Prospects of a
class-action lawsuit against the makers of pain-killing drug Vioxx were given
a boost yesterday after a staggering, multimillion-dollar-US jury verdict, a
Calgary lawyer says.
Vaughn Marshall of
Marshall Attorneys, which launched the Alberta suit with Docken & Co.,
said the decision will have effects here.
"You're going to see
more verdicts like this -- this Texas verdict today is a very positive
indication there is a light at the end of the tunnel," Marshall said.
Though there is no
binding precedent of a U.S. civil case on a Canadian class-action suit,
Marshall said it bolsters the case here.
"Certainly from a
moral perspective and an influence perspective, people ... who have yet to
come forward, when they see that another court has ruled against Merck, they
may add their names to our suit," he said.
The Alberta suit is a
part of a national class action, in the process of applying to Ontario's
highest court for approval of the case.
Jim Venables, who said he
believes Vioxx caused a heart attack in July 2000 which left him unable to
work, is a part of the lawsuit.
He said he is cautiously
optimistic the Texas decision will give momentum to the Canadian suit, but
added it likely won't affect Merck and Co.'s approach to other legal action.
"They're going to
fight and fight -- at this point, Merck has said as much that it has no
intention of settling," he said.