Judge in Vioxx Trial Says She Was Mislead By Merck

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee ordered the testimony of Briggs Morrison, a Vice President for Merck Research Labs to be stricken from the record and ignored by the jury. “Quite frankly, I felt sick yesterday afternoon,” she said. “I realized how I have got sucked into this. I feel that I was misled during the testimony.” The comments came on the heels of Merck testimony about a series of animal tests and their implications for the safety of Vioxx, but the judge said he was not an expert on the topic. The judge ordered that the entire testimony be ignored by the jury and that if Merck wished to use him as a witness any further, the company’s defense lawyers would have to rely on testimony given during an earlier videotaped deposition. Merck attorney Diane Sullivan protested the judge’s ruling but was repeatedly told by the judge to sit down and stop speaking. The judge at one point threatened to remove Sullivan from the courtroom after the lawyer continued to argue against the judge’s decision.