As we age, we sometimes forget how things used to be.  It is not just age-related deterioration of the synapses in our hippocampi.  (We do question why hippocampi and hippopotamuses are the preferred plural forms these days and why more anatomic structures are not named for things like seahorses.)  There is also a recency effect. 

The Ninth Circuit recently answered a preemption question that we had seen arise intermittently, mostly in food litigation, over the past couple of years.  Because the relevant preemption clause closely resembles the language of the Medical Device Amendments, we thought it was worth a look.

In Webb v. Trader Joe’s Co., ___ F.3d ___,

Before we turn to today’s case, a quick update:  when last we spoke, we were about to board a plane for Peoria – our first work trip in sixteen months.  We were excited about it.  We regret to report that we stepped out of the plane into something resembling a weird post-apocalyptic Mad Max movie. 

The United States Supreme Court in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs Legal Committee, 531 U.S. 341 (2001), determined that “off-label usage” is “accepted and necessary” by both the FDA and the medical community.  Id. at 350.  Thus, “[p]hysicians may prescribe drugs and devices for off-label uses.”  Id. at 351 n.5 (citation and quotation marks omitted). 

The Ninth Circuit recently answered a preemption question that we had seen arise intermittently, mostly in food litigation, over the past couple of years.  Because the relevant preemption clause closely resembles the language of the Medical Device Amendments (“MDA”), we thought it was worth a look.

In Webb v. Trader Joe’s Co., ___ F.3d