(CN) – A Texas appeals court overturned its earlier decision to toss a $7.75 million judgment against Merck & Co. in a wrongful-death lawsuit involving the prescription drug Vioxx.
Felicia Garza and her children claimed that 71-year-old Leonel Garza Sr. suffered a fatal heart attack in 2001 from taking Vioxx.
A jury in Rio Grande City, Texas, awarded Garza $32 million, which was later capped at $7.75 million.
In May 2008, the 4th Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment and entered a take-nothing judgment for Merck. In that ruling, the court concluded that the Garzas were unable to prove that Vioxx had caused the heart attack.
After rehearing the case, a three-justice panel reversed its earlier decision and ordered a new trial due to “juror misconduct.”
It also ruled for the plaintiffs on their claim that Vioxx, and not Leonel’s pre-existing heart conditions, caused the fatal heart attack.
“(W)e conclude the plaintiffs carried their burden of presenting legally sufficient evidence to support a finding of specific causation,” Justice Marion wrote.