03/28/2008 02:43 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Merck Found Liable in Vioxx User's Death, $253M Payout...

A Texas jury found pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. liable Friday for the death of a man who took the once-popular painkiller Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages in the first of thousands of lawsuits pending across the country.

The panel deliberated for 10 1/2 hours over two days before returning the verdict in a 10-2 vote. But the damage award is likely to be drastically cut to no more than $26.1 million because Texas law caps the punitive damages that made up the bulk of the total.

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