District Court rejects Pfizer claims of preemption in Zoloft suicide case.

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The survivor of a man who committed suicide sued Pfizer alleging its drug Zoloft contributed to his death. Pfizer argued that the failure-to-warn claims were preempted. Rejecting the manufacturer’s claims of express preemption, Judge Rosenbaum observed that “FDA regulations explicitly permitted defendant to unilaterally strengthen its warning label at any time without regulatory pre-approval. 21 C.F.R. §§ 314.70(c)(6)(iii)(A). This particular …

Ninth Circuit holds that website intake from potential clients is not subject to disclosure.

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Granting a mandamus in an action where attorneys were compelled to turn over initial responses by clients on the Internet in suit against the makers of Paxil, the court re-affirmed the principle that the attorney-client privilege extends to initial consultations, even where the attorney and client acknowledge that no formal attorney-client relationship has been established. “Potential clients must be able …

High Court rejects preemption of state law tort claims under FIFRA.

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Peanut farmers brought claims against Dow alleging that its Strongarm pesticide stunted the growth of their peanut plants, despite the EPA-approved label which originally advertised that “Use of Strongarm is recommended in all places where peanuts are grown.” Apparently, after the plaintiffs first complained, Dow investigated, the label was subsequently changed (with approval by the EPA) to advise purchasers not …

U.S. Fifth Circuit reverses verdict under the LPLA where plaintiff failed to prove – by direct evidence, with direct and specific expert testimony – that his injuries would have been more severe had the defendant’s airbag deployed in collision.

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Driver whose head hit steering wheel during collision successfully established breach of express warranty under the LPLA. The court, however, reversed the jury award on the basis that plaintiff failed to satisfy the “proximate causation” requirement that “he sustained more severe injuries than he would have received if the air bag had deployed.” Curiously, the Court found expert testimony that …

Fifth Circuit rules that expert testimony is not required in defective design case against forklift manufacturer.

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The plaintiff was injured while operating a Crown “stand-up” forklift when, in an effort to avoid a collision with another forklift, she applied her brakes, causing her left foot to swing out of the unenclosed operator compartment, where it was crushed between the two machines as they collided. She brought suit against Crown under the LPLA, claiming that the lack …