Justia Drugs & Biotech Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
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In these consolidated petitions in which Petitioners - Defendants in Opioid Litigation, which included more than eighty lawsuits pending before the Mass Litigation Panel - sought extraordinary relief prohibiting enforcement of two of the Panel's recent rulings, the Supreme Court granted in part one petition and denied the other, holding that Petitioners demonstrated that extraordinary relief was warranted to preserve their right to try Respondents' legal claims to a jury.The Opioid Litigation began in 2017 when various cities, counties, hospitals, and the State sued manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid pain medication and other defendants. In these consolidated petitions, Petitioners sought to prohibit enforcement of the Panel's recent rulings that Petitioners did not have a right to a jury trial of Respondents' public nuisance claims and that those same public nuisance claims were not subject to the 2015 amendments to West Virginia's comparative fault statute. The Supreme Court held (1) the Panel did not clearly err when it found that the 2015 amendments did not apply to the public nuisance claims; but (2) the Panel clearly erred by not safeguarding Defendants' right to try issues common to Plaintiffs' public nuisance claims and their legal claims to a jury. View "State ex rel. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.v. Honorable Moats" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Mass Litigation Panel through which summary judgment was granted in favor of Defendants, Pfizer, Inc., Roerig, a division of Pfizer, Inc., and Greenstone, LLC (collectively, Pfizer) on Plaintiffs’ claims that Pfizer negligently failed adequately to warn them of the risk of birth defects through the ingestion of Zoloft, a prescription medication, during pregnancy.The Court held (1) this was a case where expert testimony was necessary, and therefore, the Panel did not erroneously based its decision on the absence of expert testimony to support Plaintiffs’ claims that Pfizer failed adequately to warn women of childbearing age of the risks of Zoloft; (2) Petitioners could not sustain their evidentiary burden with Pfizer’s witnesses; and (3) there was no unfairness in requiring Plaintiffs to meet their burden of proof with expert testimony under the circumstances of this case. View "J.C. v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law

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There is no cause of action in West Virginia for failure to warn and negligent misrepresentation against a branded drug manufacturer when the drug ingested was produced by a generic manufacturer.Petitioners, Kimmy and Larry McNair, filed an action against Respondent, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging that Kimmy developed acute respiratory distress after ingestion the generic drug levofloxacin that was manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s Laboraties Limited. Janssen originally trademarked and sold levofloxacin under the brand Levaquin and produced the warnings on the label that accompanied the distribution of the drug, which were subsequently used by generic manufacturers of levofloxacin. The McNairs alleged that Janssen had exclusive control of the content of the warning for both the brand-name and generic forms of the drug and was therefore liable for their alleged injuries. The federal district court granted summary judgment to Janssen, finding that because Janssen did not manufacture the product ingested by Kimmy, there was no basis on which to hold Janssen liable. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals certified to the Supreme Court a question of law. In answering as set forth above, the Supreme Court declined to expand its products liability law. View "McNair v. Johnson & Johnson" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, by and through her mother and next friend, was one of nineteen minor plaintiffs who alleged that they sustained birth defects as a result of their mothers’ use of the prescription medication Zoloft. The Mass Litigation Panel granted summary judgment to Respondents - Pfizer, Inc., Roerig, a division of Pfizer, Inc., and Greenstone, LLC - upon concluding that there existed no genuine issue of material fact and that Pfizer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Panel correctly concluded that (1) Michigan law governed Petitioner’s claims; (2) federal law operated to preempt the exception to Michigan’s failure to warn immunity where Zoloft has received FDA approval; (3) no genuine issues of material fact remained in the case; and (4) Respondents were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "M.M. v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law