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JAMES M. BECK is Reed Smith's only Senior Life Sciences Policy Analyst, resident in the firm's Philadelphia office. He is the author of, among other things, Drug and Medical Device Product Liability Handbook (2004) (with Anthony Vale). He wrote the seminal law review article on off-label use cited by the Supreme Court in Buckman v. Plaintiffs Legal Committee. He has written more amicus briefs for the Product Liability Advisory Council than anyone else in the history of the organization, and in 2011 won PLAC's highest honor, the John P. Raleigh award. He has been a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) since 2005. He is the long-time editor of the newsletter of the ABA's Mass Torts Committee.  He is vice chair of the Class Actions and Multi-Plaintiff Litigation SLG of DRI's Drug and Device Committee.  He can be reached at jmbeck@reedsmith.com.  His LinkedIn page is here.

Bexis was a mere college freshman, and a Princeton football manager, on September 28, 1974.  In the first game of the season, Rutgers played Princeton at Princeton’s old (and rather decrepit) Palmer Stadium.  With about three minutes to go and Rutgers up 6-0, Rutgers fans swarmed the field and tore down both sets of goalposts.  When Princeton tied the game up with less than half a minute left, without goalposts we could not kick an extra point.  A two point conversion failed, and Rutgers escaped with a tie.

Not quite half a century later, Rutgers scored an actual win.  This time Bexis is pleased.  In Children’s Health Defense, Inc. v. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, ___ F.4th ___, 2024 WL 637353 (3d Cir. Feb. 15, 2024) (“CHD”), the Third Circuit affirmed the right of a publicly supported university to require COVID-19 vaccination as a prerequisite to its students’ in-person attendance.  We blogged about this outcome in the district court, and its precedential affirmance is even more significant.Continue Reading Tear Down the Goalposts – Rutgers Wins

This post is only from the non-Butler Snow part of the Blog.

As our 50-state survey of the learned intermediary rule demonstrates, the rule now applies in all fifty states.  That includes statutes or high court decisions from 38 states and the District of Columbia, intermediate state appellate decisions from four more states, and federal appellate Erie predictions from seven more states and Puerto Rico.  All told, only three states lack binding appellate precedent approving of the learned intermediary rule:  Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont.  All three of those states have federal district court precedent, and Rhode Island has unpublished federal appellate authority in addition.

Then there’s Oregon.  That state was an early adopter of the learned intermediary rule, see McEwen v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., 528 P.2d 522, 528 (Or. 1974), but a subsequent decision held that the Oregon product liability statute, which basically adopted Restatement §402A in toto, meant that the rule did not apply in strict liability cases, because §402A did not reference the rule.  Griffith v. Blatt, 51 P.3d 1256, 1262 (Or. 2002).

But in Oregon strict liability litigation, or anywhere else that some plaintiff argues that for some reason the rule doesn’t apply, there is a backup argument – implied preemption.Continue Reading Preemption as a Backup for the Learned Intermediary Rule

Today’s guest post is by Sherry Knutson and Brenda Sweet of Tucker Ellis, and concerns the recently passed legislative repeal of a Michigan statute that, for several decades had effectively immunized prescription drugs from ordinary product liability actions under Michigan law. For background, here’s a prior blogpost that focused on the now-repealed statute. As

When we last reported on Beaver v. Pfizer, the plaintiff’s complaint alleging that the FDA “suggested” that the defendant’s drug be removed from the market had been dismissed because it was a preempted “stop selling” claim.  In any event, as we also pointed out, the plaintiff did not claim the condition that had purportedly

We’ve never seen a case quite like Michaels v. Genzyme Corp., 2023 WL 8828003 (S.D. Ill. Dec. 21, 2023), before, and we hope we don’t again.  Michaels took the “proximate” out of proximate cause.

Here’s why we say that.  Michaels was filed in 2023 over “a paternity test that was conducted in 1989.”  Id.

While putting together our recent Camp Lejeune post on deliberative process privilege, we came across another discovery dispute that we’ve seen in prescription medical product liability mass tort litigation – plaintiffs refusing to produce their social security numbers.  So we decided to take a look at what’s out there.  We found that “Courts have routinely

As we discussed at length in this post, since the 1940s, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and other courts applying Pennsylvania law have refused to subject prescription medical products to strict liability.  That is significant because, unlike (now) every other state in the country, since 1987 Pennsylvania precedent prohibited defendants from introducing evidence of their

Much of the Camp Lejeune litigation is rapidly becoming, in military parlance, FUBAR.  Even prominent plaintiff-side lawyers have started calling out the avalanche of fraudulent claims that MDL-style solicitation has been generating.  Congress permitted liability, so now the United States itself is being targeted by the same litigation practices that plague MDL defendants.

But the