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Kendall Accutane Lawsuit is Timely, New Jersey Court Says

Elise Kramer | March 13th, 2012

The New Jersey Supreme Court has supported plaintiff Kamie Kendall by affirming that her filing an Accutane lawsuit in December of 2005, was in fact timely and can therefore proceed to a new trial. Her claim is based on a  diagnosis of ulcerative colitis after using Accutane. She was originally awarded over 0.5 million by a jury in a trial that took place in 2008, winning significantly against drug maker Hoffman-La Roche. However, the defendants appealed the verdict, and part of their argument was that Kendall’s lawsuit should have been barred by the statute of limitations. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court has since overturned this particular argument.

Plaintiff claims she wasn’t aware of Accutane side effects risk

Plaintiff Kendall began using Accutane for acne in 1997, when she was 12. The safety warnings on the medication had no mention whatsoever at the time of Accutane ulcerative colitis or the risk of serious gastrointestinal side effects that have since been associated with Accutane. She took three more courses of the drug between 1997 and 1998, according to her Accutane lawsuit. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in April of 1999. At this point, her doctors were unaware of any possible connection between the condition and Accutane use, so she took the medication again in 2000, and once again in 2003.

She reviewed the new warnings on the label before her final course of treatment, and the new warnings advised patients to stop use of the medication if they experienced severe stomach, chest, or bowel pain, or got new or worsening heartburn, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, or dark urine. However, ulcerative colitis was never mentioned by name as a possible side effect of the once-popular acne medication.

Drugmakers want dismissal of Accutane lawsuit

According to Kendall’s lawsuit, she was not aware of the potential connection between Accutane use and ulcerative colitis, one of many side effects from Accutane use alleged by plaintiffs all over the country. However, the defendants maintain that she should have known about the potential risk of inflammatory bowel disease and because she waited to file suit until 2005, her case should have been dismissed based on the two year statute of limitations.

However, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that a reasonable person in her situation would not have known about the relationship between the medication and Accutane ulcerative colitis.

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