Despite what the Plaintiffs’ MDL site claimed, apparently the Maley v. Merck Fosamax® bellweather trial is already well-underway, in Judge Keenan’s courtroom in Manhattan. Tonight, his clerks have electronically entered a week’s worth of minute notations on the file jackets. The trial has been underway all week.
Here is the full-text of a letter describing a dispute — about whether a 30 second section of a recorded deposition would be replayed to the jury, for context — at the open of this morning’s testimony (after apparently having had Thursday off):
April 23, 2010
. . . .Re: In re Fosamax Products Liability Litigation (MDL-1789) Malev v. Merck & Co. Inc., Case No. 06-cv-04110-JFK
Dear Judge Keenan:
I write on behalf of Merck Sharp & Dohme (“Merck”) to briefly apprise the Court of two issues that the parties require rulings on in advance of the completion of Dr. Goldberg’s testimony being played to the jury this morning.
First, Plaintiffs counsel has informed Merck’s counsel that it desires to have the last thirty seconds or so of audio played before we adjourned Wednesday replayed to the jury.
The deposition was stopped half way through a very short exam regarding Exh. E-2, which is 1.0922B. The deposition should be resumed at the point where the exhibit is first tendered, which is only about 30 seconds before the break point, so that the jury, which has been off for a day is reoriented as to what the witness is looking at and discussing. Otherwise, the jury will be lost as to the context of the questions and answers.
The testimony regarding this exhibit was complete. The only question left to be played with respect to this topic is according to Plaintiff the latter question addressed below, to which Merck has objected. As the Court is aware. Plaintiff has made this 1999 exostosis event a focus of her case. Replaying this testimony will only serve to prejudice Merck by reinforcing the purported importance of this portion of the videotaped testimony by having the jury hear it twice.
Second, white examining the transcript from the testimony that did play, Merck’s counsel realized that the last question on the record was something that it believed it had agreement should not be played. Plaintiff believes there was no agreement.
Regardless of the reasons why the parties thought differently with regard to this testimony, Merck’s position and the question that Merck now knows will follow it are inadmissible. As described below, Merck’s position is that the first question and answer should be stricken from the record, and the second not asked when the video resumes.
Goldberg 448:22-449: 5
22 Q. And did you ever, in your expert
23 reports, disclose the ’99 Adverse Event Report, this
24 particular one, as an ONJ report?
1 A. No, I did not.
2 Q. How did you miss it?
3 A. At that point in time we were not
4 searching on the term exostosis, which is how this
5 event was coded. So I missed it.
This reference to Dr. Goldberg’s “expert reports” clearly relates to searches done in conjunction with two regulatory labeling submissions in 2005. Disclosure of exostosis reports in 2005 labeling submissions runs afoul of the March 2004 time bar in place in this case.
Plaintiff’ apparently wishes to have the excerpt included for the sound byte “I missed it.” However, this unquestionably relates to a 2005 search done in connection with March and August 2005 regulatory submissions, and should be excluded for this reason. Equally, it should be excluded because his testimony is colored by the 2006 updates to this particular exostosis report. This issue already been addressed by the Court with respect to the testimony of Dr. Linda Hostelley. (See ruling at Tr. 1 56:7-20, excluding 2006 discussion of updates to this exostosis report.)
The portion re Dr. Goldberg missing the exostosis goes to the very issue of how it was possible for the adverse event system to miss reports like exostosis which describe ONJ-like symptoms. There is nothing in the question which would implicate any post-injury liability. It simply explains, in a timeless fashion, how it was possible for the safety surveillance physician to miss a report such as this. . . .
We’ll let you know if there is an electronic record of a ruling on this, before Monday.