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 a number of examples of what it believes to be indicative of both apparent and actual bias on the part of Judge Higbee in favor of plaintiffs and against Roche.  Given the number of Accutane cases pending before Judge Higbee in Atlantic County (in excess of 7,700, according to Roche’s brief), as well as the numerous cases in other Mulitcounty litigation assigned to Judge Higbee (Bristol-Myers Squibb Environmental, Fosamax, Levaquin, Pelvic Mesh, Reglan, and Stryker Implant), the outcome of this motion – and any subsequent appellate review – will certainly draw the interest of a great many lawyers involved in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation in New Jersey and beyond.

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