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Appellate Court Orders New Vioxx Trial in Texas

(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.

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