A New Jersey appeals court reversed judgments totaling more than $11 million in three suits brought under Florida law linking Accutane to inflammatory bowel disorders, opening the door for the drug's maker to apply the court’s reasoning to other state laws at issue in the litigation.

The panel ruled that, under a Florida appeals court’s reading of the learned intermediary doctrine, a company cannot be held liable for a plaintiff’s injury if his doctor would still have prescribed the products even if given a stronger warning about its risks. In the three cases at issues, the plaintiffs’ doctors said a stronger warning would not have deterred them from prescribing Accutane.

“The standards for proximate causation under many states are similar to Florida, i.e. evidence that the prescribing physician would still have prescribed the drug even if the ‘proper’ warning had been provided defeats causation,” said Ballard Spahr litigation partner Philip Yannella.