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$25.16 Million Verdict and Evidence Not Enough


It’s the standard PR spin: "Both the finding and the amount of damages were unsupported by the evidence . . ." Roche Holding AG Spokesperson. Hmmmm. Two New Jersey juries and two substantial verdicts in the same case, and the evidence doesn’t support the verdict.

The first verdict was for $2.62 Million in May of 2007. Roche felt like that wasn’t correct so they appealed, drug it out for almost three more years, and the verdict was larger. Now that’s not fair. Mommy, I want a new trial. I don’t like the result. These common jurors don’t know what they are doing.

Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution with the jury in mind. They wanted a jury of our peers to decide these issues, and for over 200 years, juries could do this appropriately. But, now, since tort reform, these jurors are too stupid. At least, that’s what corporate america wants us to think.

Two juries have sat through the evidence, which doesn’t support a verdict, and they have decided that Roche is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. What was the evidence, and what were the injuries? Well, according to the article in today’s Birmingham News, "Roche had internal documents that said Accutane caused inflammatory bowel disease and did not tell anyone." The Plaintiff "needed five surgeries, including one to remove his colon, [and he] goes to the bathroom 10 to 20 times a day and suffers from massive gastrointestinal upset."

That evidence was enough for TWO juries, but it’s not enough for Roche. What will Roche do? Appeal again. Incur more costs. Drag the case out longer. And, tie up our judicial system. And then what? A new trial? More time for another jury? A larger verdict? How many verdicts will support the evidence? The answer: None until it’s a defense verdict.

Which is more frivolous? The Plaintiff’s case or Roche’s actions. When is enough enough? When do you accept your defeat and take responsibility for your actions? That’s what the tort reformers argue – people need to take responsibility for their actions. What about corporations? Don’t they need to be responsible and compensate those they injure and kill?

What do you think?


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  1. Facebook User says:
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    When it comes down to it, the jury can be the very last gatekeeper of the idea of corporate culpability. With the recent Supreme Court decision giving corporations the same rights as individuals, the need for a sound reliance on jury verdicts is more crucial than ever. The fact is, if corporations are being granted more rights and at the same time … See Morethey are being allowed to limit their own liability from jury verdicts, then this country is telling us that a for-profit business entity is more important than the individual. If that is the case, we are no longer a nation of the people and this is in direct derogation of Framer’s intent

  2. David Shafer says:
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    Really an example of different discursive practices. Roche can’t understand why the technical/statistical evidence isn’t driving jury decisions. The plaintiff, however, insists that any adverse side effects is worthy of full disclosure. Obviously, the emotional tenor from the plaintiff is connecting with jurors and it really doesn’t matter what Roche’s experts testify too! I just posted on my blog [www.juryappeal.com] about expert testimony that might shed some light on the subject.

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    I am currently facing the sharp differences between what is legal and what is just in regard to a family trust/estate issue.

    If heard by a jury there would be no question as to the outcome.

  4. Mike Bryant says:
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    What happens when they don’t get a tainted jury, well they try to find a purchased court. Or like the Exxon case that actually have to wait for the turned administration to help with the court. It what the U S Chamber wants, justice to mean “just us”.

  5. Mark Bello says:
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    Jon: Did you spell the company name correctly? Is it “Roche” or “Roach”?

  6. Jon Lewis says:
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    Thanks to all who responded. Through careful deliberation, Andy Odum has been declared the prize winner. Congratulations Andy!