Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Products Liability
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Plaintiff filed a products liability suit against generic and brand-name manufacturers of the prescription drug metoclopramide, alleging that her long-term use of generic metoclopramide caused her to develop tardive dyskinesia and that manufacturers provided misleading and inadequate warnings. The court affirmed the district court's judgment on the pleadings for the generic manufactures under Rule 12(c) on plaintiff's failure-to-warn, design-defect, and express-warranty claims because the claims were preempted by federal law; affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims against the brand-name manufacturers under Rule 12(b)(6) because the claims were barred by Louisiana state law where plaintiff never ingested Reglan manufactured by brand-name manufacturers; even if Louisiana law did not apply, plaintiff has not established that name-brand defendants owed her a duty of care; and denied plaintiff leave to amend her complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Johnson v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Novartis in the Western District of Texas, then the case was transferred by the Judicial Panel on MDL to the Middle District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs' compliant alleged, inter alia, that Novartis failed to notify the public and physicians of the possibility of suffering osteonecrosis of the jaw until 2004 and failing to notify dental professionals until 2005. The MDL court granted partial summary judgment to Novartis and ruled that: (1) Texas law applied to plaintiffs' case, and (2) Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 82.007(a) - which provides manufacturers a rebuttable presumption against liability for failing to warn - foreclosed plaintiffs' failure to warn claims. On remand, the district court granted summary judgment on plaintiffs' remaining claims. The court affirmed the denial of plaintiffs' Rule 56(d) and Rule 60(b) motions; the remand court properly applied the law of the case when it refused to reconsider the MDL court's rulings that section 82.007 applied to plaintiffs' failure to warn claims; and the remand court properly granted summary judgment on plaintiffs' warranty claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "McKay, et al v. Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed various products liability and general tort claims against the Brand Defendants - who initially developed and received FDA approval for metoclopramide - and Generic Defendants - who manufactured and sold the product that plaintiff used. Plaintiff alleged that as a result of his prolonged use of the drug metoclopramide, he developed tardive dyskinesia. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of his claims against the Brand Defendants and grant of summary judgment to the Generic Defendants. The court held that plaintiff's products liability claims against the Generic Defendants were preempted under the holdings and reasoning of PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing and Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett, and that plaintiff failed to adequately plead any parallel claims. The court also held that plaintiff's claims against the Brand Defendants failed because plaintiff did not use the Brand Defendants' products and because Texas did not recognize a duty to a consumer who uses a competitor's products. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against the Generic Defendants and grant of summary judgment to the Brand Defendants. View "Eckhardt, et al. v. Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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This is a products liability case arising from the sale of allegedly defective drywall from a Chinese manufacturer, TG, through a Virginia distributor, Venture, to plaintiffs. The court applied the Fourth Circuit, three-party inquiry to determine whether the exercise of specific jurisdiction over TG comported with Due Process. The court concluded that TG purposefully availed itself to Virginia; TG's contacts with Virginia formed the basis for this suit; and it was constitutionally reasonable for the district court to have personal jurisdiction over TG. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court had personal jurisdiction over TG with regard to Plaintiff-Intervenors, and all Original Plaintiffs who have met their burden in proving that their claims arose out of TG's contacts with Virginia. The court also concluded that the district court did not err by refusing to vacate the Default Judgment against TG where the district court weighed several relevant factors, including the merit of TG's asserted defense, before concluding that vacatur was unwarranted. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "In Re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litig." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint against Cardinal under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, based on an implied false certification of "merchantability" by Cardinal to the VA in connection with the sales of Cardinal's Signature Edition Infusion Device (Signature pump). In regards to plaintiff's implied false certification theory, plaintiff's new allegations that merchantability was a "standard condition," or material condition, of Cardinal's contract with the VA, or that the VA would not have paid for the Signature pumps had it known of the defect, were deficient under Rule 9(b). In regards to plaintiff's claim that the Signature pumps were worthless goods, plaintiff failed to allege that any Signature pump sold to the VA over nine years was ever found to be deficient or worthless; failed to allege that any patient was harmed due to the use of the Signature pump at a VA hospital; and that the VA was ever sued due to injury caused by a malfunctioning pump. Accordingly, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to plead her claims with sufficient particularity and affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "United States, ex rel. Leslie Steury v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Brink, and others, claiming that he was raped while in jail when he was nineteen years old and that the rape occurred as a result of ineffective locks on cell doors. Brink argued on interlocutory appeal that the district court erred in concluding that the statute of limitations began running against plaintiff at the moment the torts occurred. The court concluded that the Mississippi Code clearly distinguished between the concepts of emancipation and the disability of infancy, as well as the implications of each, and Mississippi cases did not illustrate an intent to deviate from this clear distinction. Therefore, the court held that the statute of limitations did not begin to run against plaintiff until he reached the age of majority. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Baker v. RR Brink Locking Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, the wife and children of the decedent, filed suit against defendants after the decedent died in the hospital after being administered a transdermal pain patch. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's joinder of several non-diverse defendants and the district court's remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1447(e). The court joined its sister circuits and held that section 1447(d) precluded appellate review of a remand order issued pursuant to section 1447(e). Moreover, appellate review of the district court's joinder ruling was barred. Accordingly, the court dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction. View "Fontenot, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of all wrongful death beneficiaries, filed a product liability and wrongful death action against defendants. At issue on appeal was whether the Supreme Court's recent decision in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro rendered the court's stream-of-commerce approach to personal jurisdiction improper. The court found that the application of the stream-of-commerce approach in this case did not run afoul of McIntyre's narrow holding and, therefore, affirmed the district court's interlocutory order finding personal jurisdiction and denying dismissal. View "Ainsworth v. Moffett Engineering, Ltd." on Justia Law

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A jury found defendant liable to plaintiff under the Louisiana Products Liability Act, La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.54, for injuries caused by a defect that rendered one of its stucco pumps unreasonably dangerous. The central disputes on appeal were whether the theories offered by plaintiff's experts met the standards for scientific reliability under the Federal Rules of Evidence and whether the jury's imposition of liability for a defect in "construction or composition" of the pump could stand. The court held that none of the expert evidence was improperly admitted and that there was no basis to set aside the jury's finding of a defect under Section 9:2800.55. The court considered the comparative fault challenges, plaintiff's Rule 50 motion on a design defect under Section 9:2800.56, and finally, explained why the increase in the medical award was appropriate. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment on the jury verdict as modified by the district court. View "Roman v. Western Manufacturing, Inc." on Justia Law

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In the underlying action in this case, Appellants Smith & Fuller, P.A. and Hugh Smith represented the Trenado family in a products liability suit against Appellee Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. That case resulted in a jury verdict in favor of Cooper. During the proceedings, Smith and his law firm violated a protective entered by the district court to protect Cooper's trade secrets and confidential information produced during discovery. Following trial, the district court held that Smith and his firm did not willfully violate the protective order but determined that sanctions should be imposed. Appellants appealed, contending that the district court lacked authority to impose sanctions and that the fees and expenses sought by Cooper were unreasonable. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court imposed the sanctions under its authority; and (2) the expenses sought by Cooper in this matter were reasonable. View "Smith & Fuller, P.A. v. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co." on Justia Law