Author Archives: H. Lockwood Miller III

Arguments Held on Roche Motion to Recuse

Last month, we noted that defendants Hoffman-La Roche Inc. and Roche Laboratories filed a motion seeking the recusal of Judge Carol Higbee, the New Jersey State Court judge before whom virtually all claims involving Accutane pending in New Jersey have been centralized since 2005.  As reported in Law360 (registration required), arguments were held yesterday before Judge Higbee with respect to Roche’s motion.   A decision from Judge Higbee continues to be awaited with great interest.…

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Centralized Management Denied for Bayer’s Mirena Claims

In a decision reached earlier this month and posted last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court has denied an application submitted by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for centralized management of all pending state court actions involving its Mirena contraceptive device.  No reasons for the denial are provided in the notice, so practitioners in this area are left without any guidance as to why the Supreme Court rejected the application.  This is similar to the Supreme Court’s previous denial of centralization of the litigation involving NexGen…

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Recusal Motion Filed Against Multicounty Litigation Judge

Earlier this week, defendants Hoffman-La Roche Inc. and Roche Laboratories Inc. filed a motion before the Hon. Carol E. Higbee, J.S.C. – the judge to whom virtually all of the Accutane litigation pending in New Jersey state court has been assigned since 2005 – asking Judge Higbee to disqualify herself from further oversight of the Accutane litigation pending before her.  Not surprisingly, this filing has drawn immediate attention from commentators such as the New Jersey Law Journal (registration required) and Law360 (same).   Roche’s brief details…

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Another Centralized Pharmaceutical Litigation in New Jersey?

As we have posted about before, New Jersey has an established system for coordinated, centralized litigation involving claims against pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  While the nomenclature has recently changed from “mass tort” to “multicounty litigation” the process and procedures remain the same. A new addition to New Jersey’s lineup of centralized pharmaceutical and medical device litigation may be in the offing:  this week, the New Jersey Judiciary posted an application submitted by Weitz & Luxenberg to formally centralize litigation involving two different hip stems…

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Doctors Who Would Have Prescribed Drug Even With More Specific Warnings Defeats Proximate Cause

While August is still viewed as a quieter one in legal circles, last month saw an important decision from the New Jersey Appellate Division on the vexsome issue of proximate cause in pharmaceutical failure-to-warn cases.  The opinion involved the claims of three Florida residents who sued Hoffman-La Roche in New Jersey over the anti-acne drug Accutane, alleging that they had developed severe cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after taking the drug and that the warnings as to the risks of IBD were insufficient.   Hoffman-La…

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New Jersey Replaces “Mass Torts” with “Multicounty Litigation”

In a move that will likely please defendants facing consolidated litigation in New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court has approved changes to Rule 4:38A — the New Jersey Court Rule that authorizes the centralized management of similar cases — that will term such cases “multicounty litigation” instead of a “mass tort.”  (A complete copy of all forthcoming changes to the New Jersey Court Rules, including Rule 4:38A, is here.)  This change in nomenclature, which is effective as of September 4, 2012, does not…

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New Jersey Supreme Court Denies Centralized Management for NexGen Flex Products Claims

In a decision apparently made last month but only published at the end of last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court has denied an application for centralized management of all pending state court claims involving certain NexGen Flex knee replacement products.  We noted the pendency of this application earlier this year. Unlike many applications for centralized management or mass tort status in New Jersey that are submitted by plaintiffs — who often seek the procedural and other benefits of coordinated proceedings — the NexGen application

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New Jersey Court Backs Mensing Preemption

Several weeks ago, we discussed the issue of Mensing generic drug preemption and the anticipated decision from Judge Carol Higbee, who is presiding over the consolidated Reglan and metoclopramide litigation pending in Atlantic County.  As readers may recall, generic preemption is a battleground issue now in pharmaceutical litigation, as generic pharmaceutical defendants seek to take full advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s favorable ruling last year in Mensing, and plaintiffs’ attorneys try creatively to limit and narrow the scope of Mensing preemption. Judge Higbee…

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Mensing Update

Recently, we posted about the awaited decision from Judge Carol Higbee in response to the generic defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims in the consolidated litigation involving metoclopramide on the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Pliva v. Mensing.  While courts across the country continue to take up and decide this issue – including a very favorable opinion from Judge Danny Reeves in the multi-district litigation involving propoxyphene – generic pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to await a ruling from Judge Higbee. …

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New Jersey Mass Tort Program Continues To Expand

New Jersey is known for many things, including an established state court mass tort program.  Currently, there are twenty litigations under centralized management in three different courts (Atlantic, Bergen, and Middlesex Counties) being managed by four separate judges (Hon. Carol Higbee, Hon. Brian Martinotti, Hon. Jessica Mayer, and Hon. Ann McCormick). New Jersey has a specific court rule – Rule 4:38A – that authorizes centralization of cases for coordinated management.  The New Jersey Supreme Court has also promulgated written guidelines for determining whether or not…

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