Drug manufacturers are not insurers against injury from or while taking medications. Neither are distributors or pharmacies. Just because a patient experiences a complication while taking a medication, including the very condition the medication is supposed to help prevent, does not mean that some person or entity should be liable to the patient for her injuries. Sometimes, there is no fault or liability to be found. We do not think these are controversial principles, but we find that they apply to more than a few of the cases giving rise to the decisions about which we expound.
We also find that missing facts from complaints can speak volumes. Similarly, when a plaintiff waits until the third complaint to add case-specific factual allegations that should have been there from the start or when factual allegations pop in and out of serial amendments you have to question the basis for those allegations. At least we do. As inveterate curmudgeons, we tend to think bare-bones, boilerplate allegations are unlikely to be supported if the case gets to the merits. Of course, part of the game for some plaintiffs is to get past pleadings and hope the defendants opt for settlement instead of paying the costs of defense. The Twombly and Iqbal decisions tightened pleading standards, and thus improved the chance of success on motions to dismiss in federal court and some states have followed along. The hole, and source of our periodic grumbling, is how often dismissals are without prejudice and accompanied by leave to amend. Too often, it seems that the provision in Fed. R. Civ. P. 15 that courts “should freely give leave when justice so requires” leads to leave even when it should be obvious that amendment will be futile, not to mention a waste of judicial resources.
Continue Reading Five Strikes Needed To Dismiss A Questionable Case