On February 27th, the New Jersey Supreme Court released an opinion addressing the effect of the New Jersey Product Liability Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:58C-1 to -11 (“PLA”) on New Jersey’s discovery rule applicable to the statute of limitations in an action against a drug company. In this case, Kendall v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., the Court confirmed that the New Jersey statute of limitations, which is the period of time an injured person has to bring a lawsuit against another person or corporation, is based on whether a reasonable person would have been aware of facts that would have led to discovery of the injury before the statute of limitations expired.
If a Plaintiff can show that a reasonable person would not have been aware of the injury, the statute of limitations does not bar his or her claims. This case involved the use of Accutane and whether it caused the Plaintiff’s inflammatory bowel disease. The Court held that the Plaintiff had produced sufficient facts to overcome her burden of proving she did not know and should not have known of the injury more than two years before she filed her lawsuit. In my opinion, this is a good opinion, and one that is badly needed. It definitely takes away a drug company Defendants’ ability to hide its wrongful conduct and deny justice by claiming the time to file a claim had run.
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