Cook County Courthouse

Pamela Kavis filed a six-count complaint against Merck & Co., Inc., on Oct. 13 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the company's drug Vioxx was responsible for the death of her husband, John Kavis. The suit also alleges negligence against the deceased's physician for prescribing the medication. Although Vioxx was pulled from the market in September 2004, the suit complains that John Kavis suffered a fatal stroke on November 8, 2004 that was caused by his use of the drug to treat arthritis pain. Counts I and II are strict liability claims brought under the state's survival and wrongful death acts. Specifically, the counts allege that Merck failed to manufacture and sell pharmaceuticals in a reasonably safe condition. Essentially, plaintiff argues that Merck presented a deadly risk to Vioxx consumers by placing a drug with unreasonable health risks in the stream of commerce. Counts III and IV allege negligent product liability for failure to properly test Vioxx and warn users of the increased risk of stroke associated with its use. Counts V and VI allege medical negligence against Mary Kanashiro, M.D., for prescribing Vioxx to Mr. Kavis for treatment of arthritis. The case is pending assignment in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The plaintiff is represented by Baal & O'Connor of Chicago.

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