$25 Million Award Upheld in Accutane IBD Lawsuit

In New Jersey, a judge has declined Roche’s request for a new trial or a lesser jury award than $25 million for a man who developed severe inflammatory bowel disease after taking Accutane.

In one of the first Accutane lawsuits to reach a jury in the United States, Judge Carol Higbee denied Roche’s request for a new trial or remittitur in the case brought by Andrew McCarrell.

The case was originally filed in 2003 and first went to trial in 2007, ending in a jury award of $2,619,000.  The case was remanded for a new trial when Roche requested to introduce evidence on the total number of Accutane users.

The second trial took place in January 2010, when another New Jersey state court jury awarded McCarrell $159,540 in compensation for medical bills and another $25 million in compensation for pain and suffering.

McCarrell took Accutane, a popular acne drug, for several months in 1995 then developed severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as a result of Accutane side effects.  McCarrell had to undergo five surgeries, including one to have his colon removed, and has suffered daily pain and anguish as a result of Accutane IBD.

Roche has challenged this second trial on several grounds, calling for another new trial or a reduction in the damages awarded to McCarrell.

Judge Higbee denied Roche’s requests in a 47 page opinion issued on September 12, indicating that she found no sense of “wrongness” in the jury’s award.

“[McCarrell's] testimony and that of his wife and doctors presented a picture of probably the worst case of pain, suffering and loss of quality of life I ever heard described on my eighteen years on the bench,” Higbee wrote in her decision. “The second was another Accutane case where the jury found no proximate cause so there was no award.”

All Accutane litigation has been centralized as a mass tort in Atlantic County, and Judge Higbee is overseeing all Accutane litigation in New Jersey state court.  To date, there are at least 5,313 Accutane lawsuits filed in New Jersey state court.

The other case Judge Higbee referred to is most likely the Accutane lawsuit filed by actor James Marshall, who claimed his acting career was ruined by inflammatory bowel disease caused by Accutane side effects.  The jury that heard Marshall’s case awarded $2 million to one of the co-plaintiffs who went to trial at the same time, but the jury found that Accutane was not a substantial factor in Marshall’s IBD.

Contact an Accutane Lawyer

If you or someone you love suffers from inflammatory bowel disease after taking Accutane, you may be entitled to pursue compensation in a dangerous drugs lawsuit.  Contact a personal injury lawyer at our firm for a free legal consultation.

Sept. 22, 2011 | Tags: Accutane, Dangerous Drugs, Personal Injury

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