By Marcus Rayner | New Jersey Law Journal, To the Editor
In taking the unprecedented step of filing its motion for the recusal of Judge Carol Higbee [“Accutane Maker Seeks To Disqualify Judge Handling N.J. Mass Litigation,” Dec. 17, 2012], Hoffmann-La Roche has made a calculated decision to challenge a longstanding bias against it and the industry in which it operates – a pattern that dates back to the Vioxx cases of nearly a decade ago. More pharmaceutical litigation is filed in New Jersey courts than anywhere else in the country, with 93 percent of the plaintiffs coming from out-of-state.
Plaintiffs have been uniquely successful litigating Accutane claims in Higbee’s court, while no Accutane case has proceeded to judgment outside of New Jersey. What is remarkable is that Higbee has gone beyond even what New Jersey’s rules allow: Every plaintiff verdict to receive appellate review thus far has been reversed, but only after significant time and money has been expended on appeal.