Sometimes, The Law Doesn't Matter


We talk about a lot of law on this blog, but sometimes, we have to admit, the law doesn’t matter, and cases are decided simply on the basis of good lawyering and bad witnesses. Exactly this happened in Zundel v. Johnson & Johnson, No. A-3984-08T1, slip op. (N.J. Super App. Div. Aug. 5, 2011) (unpublished). In Zundel, the jury – and then the appellate court – found for the defense because, essentially, the other side’s witnesses were exposed as liars.

Zundel involved bad injuries, no doubt about it. Stevens-Johnson syndrome – especially the worst kind, toxic epidural necrosis – basically makes your skin fall off, as if burnt. Zundel, slip op. at 4-5. The other side has created a cottage industry taking what are essentially rare idiosyncratic reactions (id. at 5 – TEN incidence is at most one in a million) to almost any drug (and maybe other foreign substances as well) and turning them into failure to warn cases. In order to avoid the learned intermediary rule, among other reasons, the other side prefers to target over-the-counter products in SJS/TEN cases.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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