Merck’s lawyers renewed their Rule 50(a) motion Friday evening — which is a common federal trial motion strategy — essentially to ask again, that the case be dismissed — once the entire affirmative defense case is in. That is to say, I strongly suspect that Merck has finished putting on its defense.
And, on the plaintiffs’ side, an amended set of proposed jury instructions (40 some pages worth) have been filed in Trenton’s federal District courthouse — so, at some point on Monday afternoon, I think the very able Judge Joel Pisano is likely to allow closing arguments to begin. It is possible he might grant Merck’s Rule 50(a) motion — and dismiss the case without closing arguments, or a jury charge. But I now doubt it, as he has already reserved a date — May 20, 2013 — to hear argument on the portions of the Rule 50(a) motion he did not earlier grant.
So, on balance, I’d expect that the case will reach the jury some time later this coming week, depending on how loquacious Merck’s (and the plaintiffs’) lawyers wax. Do stay tuned.