Recusal Fight in Accutane Litigation Heading to Appellate Court?
As we have discussed previously, defendants Hoffman-La Roche Inc. and Roche Laboratories Inc. recently filed a motion to recuse Judge Higbee from further handling of the centralized Accutane litigation pending before her. Last month, Judge Higbee denied that motion. Yesterday, as reported in Law360 (registration required), the defendants filed an application for leave to appeal Judge Higbee’s decision to the New Jersey Appellate Division, asserting that, among other things, Judge Higbee’s opinion denying their motion is further evidence of an appearance of, if not actual, partiality. While it is not clear whether the Appellate Division will grant the defendants’ request and undertake appellate review of this issue now, given the number of Accutane cases still pending in Atlantic County, doing so would seem to make sense. In any event, this ongoing issue will no doubt continue to be watched with great interest.