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April 14, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, April 14, 2015 — Am Law Litigation Daily named Covington’s Paul Schmidt and Michael Imbroscio “Litigators of the Week” for leading the defense of Hoffmann-La Roche in the extensive litigation over its acne medication Accutane.
Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Imbroscio scored a major victory on April 2 when they convinced a New Jersey state court judge overseeing the Accutane New Jersey Multi-County Litigation that Accutane’s warnings of potential gastrointestinal injuries, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease, were legally adequate.
“With a big assist from Covington & Burling's Paul Schmidt and Michael Imbroscio, Roche now has the plaintiffs lawyers scrambling to salvage thousands of pending lawsuits in the Accutane mass tort,” Am Law Litigation Daily wrote in a profile published on April 9. The decision by Judge Nelson Johnson puts an end to all suits by New Jersey plaintiffs who took Accutane after April 2002, and could potentially end up to 800 cases in which plaintiffs from other states took the medication after that date.
Am Law Litigation Daily observed that “the momentum in the 12-year-old litigation began to shift when Roche's lawyers overturned several of the company's early trial losses.” Following the appointment of a new judge last summer and the publication of new scientific studies on Accutane and gastrointestinal injury, Covington had the opportunity to re-present Hoffmann-La Roche’s labeling arguments as well as challenge prior adverse science rulings.
“Siding with Roche, Johnson agreed to exclude testimony from the plaintiffs' experts, finding they had cherry-picked scientific research to support a theory that ingesting Accutane can cause a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease known as Crohn's Disease,” the publication stated. “The decision immediately endangered thousands of cases involving Crohn's claims, which account for roughly half of the more than 6,700 pending Accutane cases.”
In addition to Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Imbroscio, the Covington team representing Hoffmann-La Roche includes John Deboy, Emily Ullman, Andrew Siegel and Nick Hailey.