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?