TorteDeForm

Kia Franklin

“Pretty bad for patients, pretty good for industry profits.”

The Supreme Court has ruled on Riegel v. Medtronic, one of several preemption cases before the Court right now. (NYT, Newsday) In the words of Allison M. Zieve, the lawyer for Donna Riegel, the decision is "pretty bad for patients, pretty good for industry profits." The Court upheld the lower courts' decisions and ruled that since the heart catheter at issue in the case had received the FDA's premarket approval, manufacturers were thus shileded from state-based lawsuits related to the catheter's safety.

From the NY Times:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the lone dissenter on Wednesday, asserting that the majority had adopted an unnecessary “constriction of state authority.” Justice Ginsburg said she did not believe that Congress had intended to bring about “a radical curtailment of state common-law suits seeking compensation for injuries caused by defectively designed or labeled medical devices.”

For more on federal agency preemption, also see the Federal Preemption section of the Presidential Platform for Civil Justice.

Here's some of our previous coverage of the Riegel case:
WILL MANUFACTURERS OF DEFECTIVE MEDICAL DEVICES BE GRANTED IMMUNITY FROM LAWSUITS? by Michael Townes Watson
Supreme Court to hear two “preemption” cases, by Alex Sugerman Brozan
LA Times Article on Medtronic Case Gets it Right

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 1:57 PM, Feb 20, 2008 in Federal Preemption | In the News | Preemption | Presidential Election | Supreme Court Rulings
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Comments

Perhaps each state could determine what devices, medications and other products are approved for use. In that way the state can assume the responsibility for this instead of the FDA and the Federal government can save the money since its approval would mean nothing.

Posted by: throckmorton | February 20, 2008 8:00 PM

Sure, I mean, it's approval means pretty much nothing as it stands right now, so...

But in all seriousness, consumers deserve some protection. They can't be told on the one hand to trust the FDA and on the other hand that even though the FDA failed to properly regulate a product they have no legal recourse. Under such a system, our legal rights and our justice system are just empty shells.

Posted by: Kia | February 21, 2008 11:45 AM

If the Supreme Court finds, 8-1, that Congress intended to preempt state law on subject, then the headline sound more like:

"Pretty bad for patients [who seek state tort claims], pretty good for industry profits, pretty good for democracy and uniform regulation."

It always strikes me as odd that people seem to blame *judges* for Congressional preemption. Judges' job is to determine Congressional intent. Thus, if preemption is so bad we should blame Congress for doing it (or the Constitution), and seek Congressional action to remove it.

Posted by: Joel Smith | February 21, 2008 4:04 PM

Is there a fight to repeal Tort Reform in Georgia? If so how do I join? I settled in a suit against MAG and would like to help inform others of what it means and how it hurts. Most folks don't even know that the $350,000 cap is before legal fees. That means the Cap can really be as low as $175,000.

Posted by: Jenny | September 7, 2008 12:43 PM

Is there a fight to repeal Tort Reform in Georgia? If so how do I join? I settled in a suit against MAG and would like to help inform others of what it means and how it hurts. Most folks don't even know that the $350,000 cap is before legal fees. That means the Cap can really be as low as $175,000.

Posted by: Jenny | September 7, 2008 12:45 PM