A Judge Sends a Case Against Accutane Back to State Court
Perry Larkin | July 23rd, 2012
The plaintiff in a case against manufacturer Hoffman-La Roche for their acne medication Accutane also named the publishing company Wolters Kluwer as a defendant in his complaint.
In his lawsuit, Andrew Boatright stated that Wolters Kluwer knew or should have known that Accutane posed an unreasonable risk of injury including increasing the risk of side effects from Accutane use such as Crohn’s disease. In his case, he brought counts of liability, defective design, failure to warn, negligence, fraud and breach of warranties. After oral argument about the issue of Wolters Kluwer, Pennsylvania federal judge Timothy J. Savage ruled on June 27, 2012, that the plaintiff’s motion to remand the case from federal court back to state court was granted and the case was remanded back to the court from which it was removed.
Seeking to hold Hoffman-La Roche liable for injuries
The case had been originally filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, which is the location of one of the Accutane mass torts, on April 25, 2011. The other mass tort stemming from the Accutane lawsuits is proceeding in New Jersey. The defendants removed the Boatright case to federal court on June 1, 2012.
Boatright seeks to hold Hoffman-La Roche liable for injuries he suffered after using the acne drug. He claims that had the defendant adequately warned about the risk of potential side effects including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis after using Accutane, he never would have taken it.
According to his complaint, Boatright took Accutane for treatment of his acne from November, 1997 through April, 1998. After using the drug, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He claimed in excess of $75,000 in damages, and brought counts against the Hoffman-La Roche and Roche Laboratories, Inc.
The naming of a publishing company is in dispute
At issue in this case, however, was the fact that Boatright also named Wolters Kluwer in his filing. Wolters Kluwer is a Delaware corporation with its principle place of business in Philadelphia. Wolters Kluwer is a publishing company that creates and distributes prescription drug information, warnings, and monographs. Boatright claimed that Wolters failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of illness from the drug.
When the defendants moved for removal to federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, they claimed that Wolters Kluwer was fraudulently joined to the case “for the purposes of determining diversity jurisdiction,” since both the company and Boatright are residents of Pennsylvania.
They further asserted that the plaintiff did not have a right to relief against Wolters Kluwer. They explain that the Wolters Kluwer monographs at issue are provided through Medi-Span, but that prior to 2001, when Boatright was taking Accutane, Medi-Span was owned by Hearst Corporation, not Wolters Kluwer.
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