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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Energy Crisis: Scrutiny Over the Safety of the Energy Drink Industry Continues

On the heels of an investigation into the possible link between Monster energy drinks and five deaths, the energy drink industry as a whole has been under the legal, administrative and legislative microscope.  Most recently, Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal have requested a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration FDA following the reports that 5-Hour Energy may be linked to thirteen deaths in the past four years 5-Hour Energy. Senators Durbin and Blumenthal are no strangers to this issue. In September of…
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Stay Where You Are: Ruling in Eastern District of New York Keeps State-Law Claims against Generic Drug Manufacturers in Federal Court

In a decision that was seen as a victory for pharmaceutical companies, U.S. District Court Judge William Kuntz denied a remand motion made by a group of plaintiffs suing a number of manufacturers of generic anti-seizure drugs.  The plaintiffs in Bowdrie, et al v. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., et al, 1:12-CV-00853 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, claim that they suffered tissue damage from taking generic anti-seizure drugs manufactured by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc., Taro Pharmaceuticals USA
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Turning the Heat Up on the Energy Drink Industry: Monster Faces New California Class Action Lawsuit

Once again, energy drink industry leader, Monster, finds itself under heightened scrutiny and encumbered with ongoing legal challenges regarding its diverse line of energy drink products Monster.  The most recently filed, Jennifer Wooding vs. Monster Energy Company, Monster Beverage Corporation is a class action suit filed in the California Orange County Superior Court alleging that Monster has failed to warn consumers regarding the ingredient, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC) which, per the Complaint, is noted as being a   “toxic and potentially lethal ingredient”.  This latest product liability…
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Energy Drinks Take Center Stage: Risk Of Litigation For Beverage Manufacturers Heightens Under Scrutiny

Energy drinks are again under the legal microscope.  On the heels of the highly publicized wrongful death suit filed against energy drink titan Monster, involving the death of 14-year old Anais Fournier, a class action was launched in Florida against Vital Pharmaceutical Inc., manufacturer of the energy supplement drink, Redline.  In recent years the caffeine content of energy drinks has caused many to scrutinize the potential affiliated health risks associated with consuming high quantities of caffeine and the necessity for heightened FDA regulations.  Under…
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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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Warning: Liability For Deficient Labels May Extend Beyond Your Own Products

Generally, the duty of care of a manufacturer for product liability is limited to consumers who use the manufacturer’s product.  This duty is based on the theory of strict liability in torts, which requires a plaintiff to prove that the defendant actually manufactured the injurious product.  However, in the pharmaceutical industry, courts are beginning to apply negligence principles to extend liability to persons who did not use the manufacturer’s product. In the 2009 case of Conte v. Wyeth, Inc., the California Court of Appeals…
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A Horse of a Different Color… Is Usually a Very Different Horse: Conflict-of-Law Issue Determinative of Product Liability Litigation Outcome

On October 1, 2012, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, affirmed its prior decision to dismiss product liability claims against Sanofi-Aventis US, LLC. arising from the use of a generic version of its popular drug, Ambien. Madden v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., et al. In so affirming, the Court found Washington State law was rightfully applied and the case was properly dismissed against the defendant as, pursuant to the Washington Products Liability Act, “Sanofi was not the manufacturer…
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Pfizer’s Failure to Warn: 1 Case, $5.1 Million

On September 7, 2012, in the matter of Okuda v. Wyeth et al, a Utah federal jury found Pfizer neglected to warn of the potential side effects of Prempro and Premarin, both prescribed for hormone therapy, resulting in an award of $5.1 Million to the plaintiff. This case is one of thousands that have been filed regarding the hormone therapy drugs Premarin, Prempro and Premphase, which are prescribed to treat menopausal symptoms and have been linked to increased risk of cancer according to a…
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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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