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Seeger Weiss Blog: Legal News and Analysis

Category : Accutane

Jury to Roche: You Failed to Properly Warn Physicians of the Risk of Ulcerative Colitis with Acne Drug Accutane; Roche Ordered to Pay $1.59 Million to Former Accutane User, according to Seeger Weiss LLP

March 17th, 2014

Attorneys are satisfied with the outcome of the re-trail for Kamie Kendall Rees as a jury in New Jersey rules in favor of the plaintiff for $1.59 million. Ms. Kendall Rees filed a lawsuit against Hoffman La-Roche Inc. and Roche Laboratories after suffering severe complications from being prescribed Accutane to treat her acne. She began treatment at age 12, undergoing several cycles with the medication but shortly after developed ulcerative colitis, a severe, debilitating disease. UC forced Ms. Kendall Rees’ to have life altering surgery to remove her colon in order to manage her condition.

Trial team leaders, Michael Hook (Pensacola, Florida) and David Buchanan (Seeger Weiss, LLP New Jersey/New York), are pleased with the verdict as they believe Ms. Kendall Rees received the justice she deserved. The trial team also included Mary Jane Bass and Jake Lurton of Beggs & Lane LLP, and Bill Cash and Troy Rafferty of Levin Papantonio.

This trial was the seventh New Jersey lawsuit surrounding Accutane to reach a settlement. Like the preceding six trials, Accutane users allege that Roche Laboratories did not provide adequate warning to physicians and therefore the users of the medication. More than 7,000 cases are currently pending in New Jersey and across the country for users that developed gastrointestinal disease post-treatment.

“Though the jury’s verdict only formally applies to Kamie,” claims Hooks, “it’s an extremely positive result for plaintiffs in the remaining approximately 7,000 inflammatory bowel disease cases pending in New Jersey and elsewhere.” Positive insight for future trials has many victims rightly hopeful as they pursue justice for their injuries.

Further noted was Roche’s apparent negligence to strengthen warnings for Accutane and the associated risks from its market release until 1998. Information was becoming readily available in that time that suggested Accutane was the direct cause for inflammatory bowel disease a related risks.

Mr. Buchanan noted that, “At this point, Accutane’s role as a cause of ulcerative colitis is a settled issue. Roche’s continued denials in the face of seven juries in New Jersey, and one in Florida, stating otherwise is a continuing insult to the many who have already suffered so much due to this drug.”


Seeger Weiss Gets $18 Million Verdict For Two Former Accutane Users

July 3rd, 2012

On Friday, June 29, 2012, counsel for the plaintiff in yet another Hoffman La-Roche Accutane trial, led by Seeger Weiss partner David Buchanan and Troy Rafferty of Levin Papantonio, PA were able to secure an $18 million verdict. The plaintiffs in the drug injury lawsuit were Katie Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson, two former Accutane users who took the prescription acne medication in the 1990s and developed ulcerative colitis as a result. Ulcerative colitis, a debilitating, permanent gastrointestinal disease, is among the reported side effects of Accutane use. The New Jersey jury ultimately sided with Mr. Buchanan and the plaintiffs, finding that Hoffman La-Roche, the defendants and makers of Accutane, withheld its knowledge and conclusions about the risk of ulcerative colitis from doctors and patients. In response to the verdict, Mr. Buchanan, of Seeger Weiss LLP stated: “We’re extremely pleased for Katie and Riley. They’ve suffered greatly at the hands of Roche’s drug, and the jury’s verdict provides a measure of justice for each of them.” Learn more about the verdict here.


SW Defeats Accutane Makers in Appeal of $10.5M Verdict

February 29th, 2012

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Seeger Weiss client Kamie Kendall in the appeal of a 2008 case against Accutane manufacturer, Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. At the conclusion of the original case, Seeger Weiss attorneys secured a $10.5 million award for Ms. Kendall, who developed uclerative colitis as a result of taking the acne medication. However, the defendants recently appealed the verdict, arguing that since Ms. Kendall was diagnosed in 1999 and did not file a lawsuit until 2005, the case violated New Jersey’s two year statute of limitations.

Seeger Weiss Partners David Buchanan and Christopher Seeger

Leading the charge on his client’s behalf, Seeger Weiss partner David R. Buchanan artfully demonstrated that, because of the Swiss pharmaceutical company’s inadequate warnings, Ms. Kendall had no reason to believe that its product had caused her debilitating gastrointestinal problems prior to 2003. Justice Virginia Long, writing on behalf of the majority, agreed and noted, “…we are satisfied, as were the trial judge and the Appellate Division, that Kendall reasonably did not appreciate by December 21, 2003, that Accutane had caused or exacerbated her condition and that, therefore, her filing on December 21, 2005, was timely.” Read the full decision here.

Drug injury cases of this magnitude often lead to an extensive appeals process, which is why it is essential that victims have experienced, dedicated representation. Seeger Weiss LLP has been handling Accutane litigation since 2005, securing awards for its clients as high as $25.16 million. Let our lawyers review your case for free and help you get the results you deserve.


Judge Denies Defendant’s Request for New Accutane Trial

September 26th, 2011

Last week, Judge Carol Higbee denied a request by Hoffman-LaRoche, the makers of Accutane, regarding the suit won by Seeger Weiss client Andy McCarrell last year. Roche’s request would have reconsidered the groundbreaking decision that awarded Andy $25.16 million. In her statement upholding the original award, Judge Higbee wrote, “[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.”

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FDA refuses to approve another diet drug

November 11th, 2010

From the Washington Post blog, The Checkup:

The agency sent a letter to the drugmaker raising a variety of concerns about Qnexa, according to Vivus Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., which had sought the drug’s approval. The letter does not bode well for the drug winning approval.

The move was expected, given that an FDA advisory panel had voted against the drug’s approval in July because of evidence it may have adverse side effects, including increasing the risks for birth defects during pregnancy.

But the step is the latest in a series of setbacks in the effort to develop new weight-loss drugs. The FDA last week rejected approval of lorcaserin because of it appeared to cause tumors in rats. And earlier this month the agency forced the removal of the the drug Meridia from the market because it appears to increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes.


Accutane News Roundup

February 18th, 2010

Accutane BottlesThe news articles rolled in after Seeger Weiss secured an enormous victory for a victim of Accutane.

Associated Press (via ABC): “NJ Jury Awards $25M to Ala. Man in Accutane Suit”

A New Jersey jury has hit the pharmaceutical company that makes Accutane with a $25.16 million judgment…

National Law Journal – “This Time Roche’s Loss to Accutane Suit Is Big, Real Big”

“This drug is awful, and the warnings were inadequate. [Roche] warned about things like pregnancy and those problems, but everything else they really ignored,” said Christopher Seeger of New York’s Seeger Weiss, one of four plaintiffs’ firms that is handling the scores of Accutane lawsuits. The others are Hook Bolton, Beggs & Lane, and Levin Papantonio — all in Pensacola, Fla.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seeger Weiss wins $25.16 million for Accutane victim

February 17th, 2010

Accutane BoxThis week Seeger Weiss scored another victory against Accutane, a powerful anti-acne medication that has been linked to several serious side effects, including inflammatory bowel disorder.

On Monday, a nine-person New Jersey jury has found that pharmaceutical maker Hoffman-La Roche Inc. failed to provide an adequate warning of the possible condition to Andrew McCarrell’s prescribing physician, which then led to his development of chronic IBD. Mr. McCarrell, who was 23 at time he took Accutane, developed a severe case of IBD and later had his colon removed. The jury awarded compensatory damages of $25.16 million to Andy, now in his thirties.

Hoffman-La Roche faces as many as 800 cases around the country. Seeger Weiss has won 5 consecutive verdicts against Roche since 2005.