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 jury broke down the damage award as $450,000 in economic damages - Robert Ernst's lost pay as a Wal-Mart produce manager; $24 million for mental anguish and loss of companionship, and $229 million in punitive damages.


* Read the full Associated Press story .

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.