Photo of Andrew Tauber

Twice this year we have reported on trial-court decisions addressing application of offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel—an offensive doctrine that precludes a defendant from relitigating an issue that it lost in earlier litigation against a different plaintiff. One court applied it; the other refused to. Today we report on a Sixth Circuit decision that affirmed, over a spirited dissent, application of the doctrine in a follow-on MDL case.

Our earlier posts catalog the doctrine’s unfair, pernicious results. A quick refresher:

Offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel risks perpetuating an erroneous result by preventing relitigation of issues previously decided against a defendant. If applied, the doctrine can give disproportionate—and potentially dispositive—weight to the decision of a lone judge or jury, no matter how wrong that decision.

The fact that an adverse judgment in one case can cripple a company’s defense in subsequent cases has two adverse consequences apart from the danger of perpetuating error. First, it gives plaintiffs tremendous leverage in settlement negotiations. Second, it induces defendants to spend much more litigating a case than would be warranted by the amount nominally in dispute.Continue Reading Divided Sixth Circuit Affirms “Unique” Application of Offensive Non-Mutual Collateral Estoppel

The case we discuss today, Vaughan v. Biomat USA, Inc., 2022 WL 4329094 (N.D. Ill. 2022), is neither a medical-device nor a pharmaceutical case. Nor is it a product-liability case. It is, however, a preemption case that implicates two issues relevant to our world.

The plaintiffs sold blood plasma to the defendants. When they

In today’s case, Chapman v. AstraZeneca, a Delaware state court granted summary judgment to the defendant pharmaceutical manufacturer after excluding the plaintiff’s causation expert under Delaware Rule of Evidence 702 because the expert’s opinion was not “stated in terms of medical probability.”

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s proton pump inhibitor, a class of

The decision we report on today, Frye v. Novartis Pharms. Corp., 2022 WL 4305656 (E.D. Ark. 2022), leaves us shaking our heads. The court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, which was based on preemption and other grounds. In the course of denying the motion, the court misconstrued the law at least once and

Under Wyeth v. Levine, 555 U.S. 555 (2009), and PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, 564 U.S. 604 (2011), failure-to-warn claims targeting a pharmaceutical are preempted unless the manufacturer could have provisionally changed its warning label without prior FDA approval under the “changes being effected” (“CBE”) provision codified at 21 C.F.R. § 314.70(c)(6)(iii)(A). Because the

Last year we recounted a decision that denied a preliminary injunction to selfish New Mexicans who think that they have a right to endanger others by refusing to be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Specifically the court denied relief to a registered nurse who claimed that she has a right to treat

Two weeks ago we reported on a case that refused to apply offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel, the doctrine that prevents a defendant from relitigating an issue that it lost in earlier litigation against a different plaintiff. Although we weren’t impressed by that decision’s analysis, its outcome was one we could endorse. Today we report on

Today’s post is for procedure geeks, especially those who litigate MDLs.

Offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel prevents a defendant from relitigating an issue that it lost in earlier litigation against a different plaintiff.

The issue is when offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel applies to a case that was part of an MDL. More specifically, the issue is

As we have previously observed, limits on personal jurisdiction matter because the outcome of litigation is heavily influenced by where a case is filed. Since the Supreme Court confirmed the narrow confines of general jurisdiction in Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915 (2011), and Daimler AG v. Bauman,