The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ public health arm, issued a report on October 26, 2015, based on research performed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), linking cancer to consumption of red meat and processed meat. In the report, 22 world health experts from 10 countries confirmed that consumption of processed meats will raise the risk of colon and stomach cancer.
Well known throughout Pennsylvania’s legal community for her consummate legal skills and uncompromising dedication, it is fitting that Kathleen Wilkinson was elected chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, a position she assumed in January, 2013. As only the sixth woman to lead this 13,000 member organization founded more than 200 years ago, Kathleen’s standing as its chancellor represents a particularly remarkable milestone in a distinguished career.
I am writing to report about a recent dismissal of a manufacturing defect claim made against a medical device manufacturer in the USDC for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This decision is favorable to our clients that are involved in defending medical devices. We believe this case may dissuade plaintiffs from filing cases against medical device manufacturers in Pennsylvania in the future, at least in federal court.
It has been a long-standing principle in Pennsylvania that the doctrine of strict products liability does not apply in cases involving prescription drugs. This principle was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the case of Lance v. Wyeth, 15 A3d 434 (PA 2014), which was decided earlier this year. As was stated in Lance, for policy reasons strict products liability claims are barred against manufacturers of prescription drugs under Pennsylvania law. However, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has yet to rule whether this ban also applied to prescription medical devices. Before the decision in Lance was made earlier this year, the federal courts in Pennsylvania had ruled that manufacturing defect claims were permissible in cases involving prescription medical devices.
On June 27, 2014, in In Re: Zoloft, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion excluding an expert in a case that bears a striking resemblance to the facts of Daubert v. Merrell Dow. We think Judge Rufe’s decision in Zoloft will serve as useful precedent to the defense bar and their clients in future pharmaceutical product liability litigation.