Man Who Lost Rectum and Colon to Acne Medicine Loses $25M Award in NJ
A man who lost his colon and rectum after taking an acne medication will be going to trial for a third time even though he's already won his liability case twice and had been awarded a $25 million award by a New Jersey jury.
Andrew McCarrell, an Alabama resident, first sued Hoffman-La Roche in 2003 because he claimed Accutane's container did not include proper warnings for his medical condition, which led to McCarrell developing inflammatory bowel disease.
He won the case in 2007, but the Swiss pharmaceutical company, which then had its U.S. operations based in New Jersey, appealed.
After another trial in 2010, a jury awarded an even larger $25 million award after hearing that he continues to suffer from incontinence and has eight to 16 bowel movements a day.
An appellate court later overturned the judgement because judges ruled McCarrell filed suit too late under Alabama law.
In January, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court reinstated the award, saying that New Jersey's statue of limitations governed the case. But the top court asked the appellate division to consider other arguments the company raised on appeal.
In a decision released Tuesday, a three-judge appellate panel overturned the case entirely and ordered a new trial, explaining that the plaintiff's doctor needs to be asked whether her decision to prescribe Accutane would have been different if the drug had come with a stronger warning.
Even though the appellate panel sent the case back for a new trial, their decision noted that the $25 million award is not one that "shocks the judicial conscience."
McCarrell's lawyer, David Buchanan, did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.