Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Big Day for State Tort Law: A Closer Look at Wyeth v. Levine

According to WSJ.com, last week's Supreme Court ruling on preemption, Wyeth v. Levine, represented the last of three opinions to be issued recently by the Court on the topic, generally speaking, of whether federal laws that regulate certain products “preempt” state tort law, effectively cutting back on plaintiffs’ right to sue over injuries in state court. The article goes on to state:

In Wyeth, a woman sued the drug company in Vermont after the incorrect administration of a drug caused her to develop gangrene in her arm. The FDA, alongside Wyeth, argued that federal drug-approval and warning-label standards should trump stricter state laws.

In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Stevens, the Court held that the labeling approval by the FDA does not preempt state laws or shield companies from legal damages as part of liability claims.

Read what WSJ Supreme Court reporter Jess Bravin has to say on this issue.

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