Hylla holds final pre-trial hearing in Accutane suit

Amelia Flood Apr. 14, 2010, 8:47am


Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla held what is likely to be the last pre-trial conference in a medical malpractice suit involving an acne medication that has been running for six years.

Hylla settled motions in limine filed by defendant Dr. Daniel Goran and testimony objections raised by his team and attorneys for plaintiff Jason Peipert at the Wednesday hearing.

Peipert's suit is set for trial Monday at 9 a.m.

The suit, brought against Goran over allegations he negligently prescribed Accutane -- an acne drug that allegedly caused Peipert to develop inflammatory bowel disease -- grew into a combined medical malpractice suit and product liability suit. Until recently, defendants included drug makers Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. and Roche Laboratories.

The Roche defendants went to mediation with Peipert and settled his case against them March 24. Terms of that settlement are confidential.

The suit had first been set for trial in 2007. Had it gone to a jury on its 2007 trial date, it would have been the first trial over Accutane in the nation.

Trial dates have moved several times. It was most recently pushed back from April 12 to April 19 at the request of the parties.

Attorneys indicated during discussions with Hylla Wednesday that the testimony in the case will open by next Wednesday.

Plaintiff's counsel Walter Campbell indicated that his case would conclude either next Thursday or Friday.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Glass said he should be able to finish his case by the following Wednesday, putting the case in the jury's hands by the end of the week of April 26.

Hylla also addressed three motions in limine filed by Goran. Hylla agreed with Glass that mention of Roche's decision to stop making Accutane last year were not relevant to Goran.

Glass and Campbell argued back and forth about whether a newly published article about Accutane could come in.

Hylla told both that he was not familiar with the article.

"I'm a little handicapped here," he told them. He asked questions of both about what, if any, new facts are raised in the article.

After hearing both attorneys sides on the matter, Hylla said that he would allow the defense attorneys to speak with a plaintiff expert about the nature of the article's findings but that he did not want those discussions to derail the April 19 trial date.

Hylla denied another motion in limine that would have dealt with multiple objections to certain plaintiff exhibits that feature Roche papers.

"I can't give you a blanket ruling," Hylla said, adding that he would rule on each objection when it arose.

Hylla, Glass and Campbell then began to go over line by line objections in various deposition testimonies.

Campbell, John Papa and others represent Peipert.

Goran is represented by Glass and others.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-2040.

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