Hylla urges parties to settle during Accutane pre-trial hearing

By Amelia Flood | Feb 25, 2010


Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla "strongly" encouraged the parties in a seven year-old suit over the acne drug, Accutane, to enter mediation and settle the case before its April trial.

Hylla made the suggestion during a pre-trial hearing Thursday.

The suit brought by plaintiff Jason Peipert of Godfrey is set for trial April 12, a date agreed upon at Thursday's hearing.

At one time, the 2003 medical malpractice and product liability case would have been the first such suit to be tried in the country.

Accutane has since been taken off the U.S. market by its makers.

Peipert sued Dr. Daniel Goran, Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. and Roche Laboratories, claiming that the drug caused him to develop inflammatory bowel disease after Goran prescribed the drug to him in the 1990s.

Since Peipert's filing, there have been several other Accutane cases that have gone to trial across the country.

Hylla cited the age of the case and the plaintiff's current condition.

"This looks to me like a case that should settle," Hylla told attorneys for the three parties. "Frankly, this is not a plaintiff that is debilitated or bedridden. I don't expect that there is a seven figure demand in this case. I don't want to waste my time and yours."

Hylla offered to serve as a mediator for the parties if they chose or to find another judge to do the job.

The suit has already gone through one round of mediation with a judge brought in from Texas.

The parties said they were not adverse to the suggestion.

Hylla asked them to update him on the status of his suggestion by mid-March and to stress to their clients that the April 12 date is firm for the beginning of the trial.

The attorneys in the case moved the suit's April 19 trial date back a week after it became clear that neither side would be able to properly present their cases in three weeks.

At least one member of the defense team had a conflicting St. Clair County trial beginning May 10.

Hylla conferred with that presiding judge, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley, and assured attorneys that even if the new trial setting ran late, O'Malley would not impede to the Madison County case finishing.

Hylla also heard arguments on two defense motions in limine related to an unpublished study abstract and issues with two plaintiff's expert witnesses.

The plaintiff and defendants' sides asked for Hylla's guidance on over 100 exhibits that are currently in dispute.

Hylla set hearings on the exhibit matter for March 23 to 25.

Peipert is represented by John Papa, Walter "Skip" Campbell and others.

Goran is represented by Jeffre y Glass.

The Roche defendants are represented by Bart Sullivan and others.

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

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