Products Liability – Defective Drugs – Statute of Limitations

Posted on 02. Mar, 2012 by in Blog

The New Jersey Supreme Court in Kendall v. Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. Delivered an opinion in February on the issue of whether or not the Plaintiff Kaime Kendall’s lawsuit against the maker’s of of the prescription drug Accutane, Hoffman-LaRoche, was barred by a two-year statute of limitations.

Ms. Kendall was first prescribed Accutane in January 1997, when she was twelve years old. By that time, the information provided to physicians began to warn of a possible link between Accutane and irritable bowel syndrome (IBD). The drugs warning labels included instructions to patients to stop taking the drug and consult a doctor if stomach pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding occurred.  In 1998 and 2000, the physician warnings were strengthened with regard to IBD. When Plaintiff was first prescribed Accutane, her doctor did not mention the risk of IBD because he was not aware of it.  In 1999 at a period in which Plaintiff had stopped taking Accutane, she was hospitalized for abdominal pain later diagnosed as ulcerative colitis.

Ms. Kendall filed suit in 2005, alleging that Hoffman-LaRoche alleging inadequate warnings for the drugs side-effects. Hoffaman-LaRoche raised the statute of limitations as a defense. The trial court noted that at the time Plaintiff began taking Accutane, warnings focused primarily on preventing pregnancy and suicide. The judged then concluded that by December 2003, Plainitff did not know her ulcerative colitis would be caused by Accutane, and that a reasonable person in her circumstances would not have known either. Hoffman-LaRoche appealed the jury verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that because a reasonable person in Plaintiff’s situation would not have known by 2003 of the relationship between Accutane and ulcerative colitis, her lawsuit against the drugmaker was timely.

The important thing to remember is that if you are taking a prescription drug familiarize yourself with the drugs side-effects.  Talk to your doctor.  In many instances there are alternative drugs with less severe side-effects.
If you are experiencing serious side-effects, you should consult counsel immediately, as each case is fact intensive on whether or not a person experiencing side-effects has acted timely.  Don’t squander your rights.
Call Rick Woods at DWSA Law Group today for a free consultation.  (800) 664-3001.


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