The Vioxx litigation has received an unusual amount of press attention, probably because so many people took Vioxx after it came on the market in 1999--an estimated twenty million Americans. By comparison, only about six million Americans took the diet drugs fenfluramine and Redux, which led to most recent oversized pharmaceutical mass tort.
Following the first Vioxx verdict in the Texas Ernst case, in which the jury award the plaintiff $253 million, much of the commentary in the press focused on the jury's supposed inability to understand the science presented at the trial. Some suggested "professional jurors" were a better alternative; others suggested tort immunity for drug companies.
Last week at a presentation at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, I addressed some of these recent attacks on the jury system. Today I posted a transcript of my presentation on Legal Underground in the post "In Defense of the Jury System."
Three other panelists, all with a pro-tort-reform view, also spoke at the conference. Transcripts of their presentations should be available soon at the AEI website.