Wyeth v. Levine means our federalist system is still alive in protecting consumers from personal injuries
Big news today is that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Vermont personal injury jury verdict against drug manufacturer Wyeth. The drug company had attacked the verdict claiming it had no liability under state law because the FDA had approved its labeling. Wyethe v. Levine, 2009 WL 529172 (U.S.Vt.)
To their credit, the Supremes said, “no way.” While the FDA is an important regulatory agency charged with overseeing drug safety at the federal level, the states have a role in protecting their own citizens as well.
What does this all mean? Well, to the consumer, it means that when they are injured by a defective product, the manufacturer is now more likely to be held accountable under local state standards, rather than finding shelter under what is generally a much more lax federal system.
Does this mean personal injury claims involving product liability have become simple to prosecute? Absolutely not. These are still tough, hard fought cases and they will continue to be.
What the Wyeth decision does mean is that we have hopefully seen the high water mark of the Bush-era attempts to roll back state consumer protections, a movement that has caused untold harm to many millions of citizens.Filed Under Civil Justice Attorneys, Civil Procedure, Personal Injury