Torts Keyed to Goldberg
Pliva, Inc. v. Mensing
In 2001 and 2002, Gladys Mensing and Julie Demahy were each prescribed Reglan, the brand name for metoclopramide. Metoclopramide was released in 1980 and began to become associated with the development of tardive dyskinesia, a serious neurological disorder. As this associated gained attention and evidence, the drug’s warning label was continuously being altered altered in 1985, 2004, and 2009. The 2009 label warned that the use of the drug for more than 12 weeks should be avoided in all rare cases. Mensing and Demahy’s prescriptions were not for Reglan, but instead, for the generic metoclopramide. After Mensing and Demahy used the drug for several years, they both developed tardive dyskinesia. Mensing and Demahy (collectively, Plaintiffs) brought suit against the manufacturers of the generic drugs they had taken (collectively, Manufacturers). Plaintiffs contend that Manufacturers are liable under state tort law because they failed to provide sufficient warning for the drugs dangers. Manufacturers asserted an affirmative defense of preemption on the grounds that federal law mandated them to use the same label as Reglan. Thus, it was impossible for Manufacture to comply with a state-law duty that mandated a different label. The Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Eighth Circuits denied Manufacturers’ defense, and Manufacturers petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari.
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