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Still more Zantac MDL dismissal orders.

Today’s installment grants dismissal of the plaintiffs’ medical monitoring claims, and also sheds some light on the questionable factual basis of everything being asserted in this MDL.  As we’ve pointed out in our prior posts (such as this one), plaintiffs allege that the active ingredient in this drug

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Procedural considerations often decide cases.  Sometimes, weighty legal issues are reached through quirky procedural routes.  When it comes to whether state tort law provides medical monitoring as a remedy for people who do not have a present compensable injury, that is a legal (and policy) issue.  We have written many times that we think foundational

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Not too long ago we criticized a proposed “restatement” from the American Law Institute that sought to absolve plaintiffs who acted intentionally from having their conduct (such as stealing drugs, deliberately taking someone else’s prescription), count as comparative fault in the lawsuits such plaintiffs frequently file against our clients.  That particular proposal has been withdrawn

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We had to shake our heads at the recent 360 story entitled, “Allergan Breast Implant Risk MDL Heading to New Jersey” – the link is here for those of you with a subscription.

The idea of a “risk” MDL seems bizarre.  The story involves a particular type of cancer, and states that “four proposed class

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We thought we were on a winning streak on medical monitoring.   In August, we blogged about plaintiff lawyers stumbling in their efforts to walk the not-quite-yet-injury line.   In September, we blogged about a denial of a medical monitoring class action because the issues were more specific than common.  But with the falling

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If not yet dead, the medical monitoring claim itself is hooked up to monitors and the prognosis is not good. It’s dying from a self-inflicted injury, which paradoxically is its lack of injury. Class action plaintiffs’ lawyers, the lawyers who have largely filed these claims, despise physical injuries. Physical injuries come with differences, and differences

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A couple of quick hits today, on once “novel” causes of action whose time – at least in the novel legal spaces to which plaintiffs attempted to export them – appears to have passed.

The first of these is the shopworn effort, popular back in the late 1990s but more or less petered out by now, to use the ill-defined concept of public nuisance as a club to attack the products of an entire industry, and not incidentally, to try an end run around product specific causation.  We’ve blogged on it before, criticizing public nuisance claims against products on various grounds.

Us?  The Drug And Device Law Blog?  Who listens to us?

Not too many people, unfortunately.

But a lot of people – most importantly, judges – listen to the American Law Institute.  Bexis has joined the Members’ Consultative Group for the ALI’s Third Restatement of Torts: Liability for Economic Harm, and that group met recently.  Preliminary Draft #2, circulated last month, has this to say about attempts to use “public nuisance” to encroach upon the law of product liability:

g.         Products.

Tort suits seeking to recover for public nuisance have occasionally been brought against the makers of products that have caused harm, such as tobacco, firearms, and lead paint.  These cases vary in the theory of damages on which they seek recovery, but often involve claims for economic losses the plaintiffs have suffered on account of the defendant’s activities: the costs of removing lead paint, for example, or of providing health care to those injured by smoking cigarettes.  Liability on such theories has been rejected by most courts, and is excluded by this Section, because the common law of public nuisance is an inapt vehicle for addressing the conduct at issue. . . . If those [existing] bodies of law provide do not supply adequate remedies or deterrence, the best response is to address the problems at issue through legislation that can account for all the affected interests.

As noted in Comment g [sic, we think this should be “b”], problems caused by dangerous products might have seemed to be matters for the law of public nuisance only because the term “public nuisance” has sometimes been defined in broad language that appears to encompass anything injurious to public health.  The traditional office of the tort, however, has been narrower than those formulations suggest, and contemporary case law has made clear that its reach remains more modest.  The rules of this Section reflect that modesty.Continue Reading Bad Ideas Whose Time Has Passed