Lebrasseur v. Hoffmann – La Roche
Limitée (Québec Superior Court File No.:
On June 27, 2013, Justice Savard of the Québec Superior
Court dismissed Plaintiff Yann Lebrasseur's Re-re Amended
Motion for Authorization to Institute a Class Action and be
Ascribed the Status of Representative, pursuant to which the
Plaintiff requested permission to represent all Québec
residents who developed Crohn's Disease, various others forms
of intestinal bowel diseases, rectal bleeding or abdominal cramping
and pain as a result of taking the prescription drug Accutane
manufactured by Hoffmann-La Roche.
The Québec Superior Court held that the facts alleged did
not seem to justify the conclusions sought and that the criteria at
section 1003(b) of the Code of Civil Procedure of Quebec
was therefore not met. The Court noted that the Plaintiff had
failed to file the supporting documentation and articles mentioned
in his Motion with respect to the alleged association between
Accutane and an increased risk of developing Crohn's Disease.
Since the product monographs did disclose certain inflammatory
bowel diseases, rectal bleeding, stomach pains and signs of
inflammation of the intestines as being observed "adverse
reactions", the Court held that the Plaintiff had failed to
explain how said information was insufficient or failed to
adequately disclose the "real risks" of developing such
Moreover, the Court expressed that the mention of such
"adverse reactions" in the product monographs is not, in
and of itself, sufficient to conclude to an appearance or colour of
right of the causal link alleged by the Plaintiff, the harmful
nature of the product or the manufacturer's failure to inform.
The Court expressed that to conclude otherwise would suggest that a
class action could be brought against a drug manufacturer for the
dangerous nature of its product or failure to meet its duty to
inform based solely on the fact that a consumer suffered one of the
"adverse reactions" identified in its product monograph,
which the Court explained cannot be allowed.
In addition, the Court noted that the Plaintiff's medical
file did not contain any medical fact, statement or opinion that
would, if taken as averred, establish a causal link between the
consumption of Accutane and the Plaintiff's Crohn's
diagnosis three years later, or establish Roche's alleged
failure to inform. Justice Savard ruled that the Plaintiff's
allegations of such a relationship, the harmful nature of the
prescription drug and Roche's failure to inform were therefore
pure speculation or suspicion. Consequently, the facts alleged and
those derived from the exhibits filed in the Court record were
insufficient for the Court to conclude that there was a serious
appearance of right.
While it was not necessary for the Court to address the other
three criteria, Justice Savard nevertheless continued the analysis
and held that the criteria at section 1003(d) of the Code of
Civil Procedure of Quebec was also not met, that is, that the
Plaintiff was not in a position to adequately represent the members
of the proposed class. In view of the fact that the Plaintiff
failed to demonstrate a serious appearance of right and his own
personal claim, the Court held that he consequently did not have
the requisite interest to institute a class action. With respect to
the Plaintiff's competence as a representative and implication
in the file, the Court concluded that the role of representative in
the file appeared to be assumed by the Plaintiff's attorneys.
In summarizing the Plaintiff's limited involvement, the Court
held that the Plaintiff did not demonstrate having the requisite
capacities to successfully see the case through to the end or make
decisions regarding the proper conduct of the action for the
benefit of all group members.
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