Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Accutane Ulcerative Colitis Lawsuit Leads to One Award/Two Losses

Having been approached a few years ago regarding representation of a couple of people that believed they had been injured by Accutane, a medication prescribed for the treatment of acne, I have paid close attention to the bellwether trials against Roche, the maker of Accutane.  Three cases went to trial a few months ago leading to one award for the plaintiff and two defense verdicts.  On top of the fact that the outcomes of these trials would play a big roll in the future litigation of these cases one of the plaintiffs was a prominent actor of the 80s and 90s, James Marshall.  I was particularly interested because Mr. Marshall starred in one of my all time favorite shows, Twin Peaks.

Unfortunately, though the jury awarded one plaintiff $2 million, they declined to award any damages for Mr. Marshall.  Marshall, had claimed that his acting career was derailed due to having his colon removed as a result of Accutane.

Accutane, generically isotretinoin, has been linked in studies to causing an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease which, in some cases has led patients to develop ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or other damage to internal organs. Not surprisingly, this medication, initially expected to help, has had a devastating impact on the quality of many a patient life.

For Marshall, the jury found that his use of the medication increased the risk of him developing bowel problems. But the jury determined that Accutane did not act as a substantial factor in his development of inflammatory bowel disease.  This may have been due to Roche's argument that Marshall had a pre-existing medical condition.I was saddened to learn that this was why Marshall lost his case.

The number of Accutane cases pending in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other courts continues to increase as former users discover that there may be a connection between their bowel injury and Accutane. Awareness of this connection is only expected to grow following the recent rise in news coverage for Accuane trial. Share this post :
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