October 05, 2010

Paul Strain quoted in Wall Street Journal on appeal of Fosamax verdict

2 min

Venable partner Paul Strain was quoted in a Wall Street Journal story on the decision to appeal a jury verdict against Merck and its osteoporosis drug, Fosamax. Judge John F. Keenan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York reduced the jury verdict against Merck from $8 million to $1.5 million but denied Merck's request for judgment in its favor or a new trial for the case of Boles v. Merck.

"We disagree with the jury's verdict and will vigorously defend against plaintiff's claims on appeal," said Strain, who along with fellow Venable partner Stephen Marshall represented Merck throughout the trial and subsequent appeal. "We believe the verdict was contrary to the evidence presented at trial and influenced by plaintiff's counsel's inflammatory and prejudicial remarks. The plaintiff was at increased risk for dental and jaw problems regardless of her Fosamax use."

After the three-week trial this past June, a jury returned a verdict in favor of a Florida woman who linked her jaw and dental maladies and subsequent hospitalization for these complications to Fosamax. Strain and Marshall presented evidence during trial that the plaintiff had medical problems that contribute to jaw and dental discomfort, and that the plaintiff had significant periodontal disease and a history of cigarette smoking that caused poor wound healing and became a key factor in the overall decline of her dental health.

The case was also colored by the closing arguments made by Boles' attorney, which Judge Keenan described as "theatrics and hyperbole" and the most "outrageous" he had ever heard.

The first Fosamax case tried to verdict, Maley v. Merck, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck this past May.

Strain was also quoted in a Law360 article on this same topic.