Under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act (FDCA), drugs sold in the United States require an FDA-approved label—the elaborate, incomprehensible (to laymen) sheets you find inside every package. Every sentence is dictated by FDA requirements, down to the font and letter size. Violations of these requirements, and the sale of drugs without the label or a different label, are subject to very severe penalties. The statutory scheme operates to the explicit exclusion of any state regulatory (administrative) scheme. What Wyeth asks us to believe is that state juries may nonetheless hold drug manufacturers liable, for accidents caused by use in direct contravention of the federal label, on the grounds that the federally required label was inadequate. Meticulous compliance with federal requirements doesn’t preempt “failure to warn” liability under state common law.
Kevin at Lowering the Bar wonders whether there’s a need for a California-specific warning.
Via Consumer Law & Policy, the punch line of a new study:
We follow the clickstream of 47,399 households to 81 Internet software retailers to measure contract readership as a function of disclosure. We find that making contracts more prominently available does not increase readership in any significant way. In addition, the purchasing behavior of those few consumers who read contracts is unaffected by the one-sidedness of their terms. The results suggest that mandating disclosure online should not on its own be expected to have large effects on contract content.
Regulation, of course, often goes to great lengths to mandate disclosure, and a considerable volume of private litigation is also based on theories that lack of more extensive and prominent disclosure rendered a transaction wrongful. The study is Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, Does Disclosure Matter?NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-54 [SSRN].
A customer unfamiliar with the vegetable ordered the grilled artichoke special at a North Miami Beach restaurant, and says the server should have warned that you’re not supposed to eat the fibrous, indigestible upper mass of the leaves, just the heart and pulpy bottom portion. He’s suing. [Matthew Heller, OnPoint News] More: Above the Law.
As a connoisseur of hot-coffee cases, I’m always excited to see a court get one right. The Abnormal Use blog points us to Colbert v. Sonic Restaurants, No. 09-1423, 2010 WL 3769131 (W.D. La. Sept. 21, 2010). The plaintiff made the usual gamut of “design defect” and “failure to warn” claims, but the court wasn’t buying it. Note that the plaintiff claimed to be injured by the coffee at Sonic Restaurants, yet another refutation of the trial-lawyer claim that Stella Liebeck’s McDonald’s coffee was unusually hot.
The suit argues that the student wasn’t given adequate warning that attaching electrical clamps to his nipples could be dangerous. Earlier reportage on the case quoted students who accused the teacher of encouraging horseplay and making light of the dangers of mild shocks; the teacher later resigned but did not face criminal charges. [Joey Cresta, Foster’s Daily Democrat/Boston Herald (Dover, New Hampshire)] More: Lowering the Bar (“Nor am I buying the Mountain-Dew-enticement allegations.”)
- Lawsuit alleging failure to warn of addictiveness of online game Lineage II survives motion to dismiss [Kravets/Wired, Mystal/AtL]
- Research: outcome of job-bias claims hard to predict, smaller and legally unsophisticated employers at higher risk of adverse outcome [Schwartz]
- UK survey sheds light on decline of outdoor and neighborhood kids’ play [BBC via Free-Range Kids]
- “The Music-Copyright Enforcers” [John Bowe, NY Times Magazine via Carton, Legal Blog Watch]
- Did an early-offer/full-disclosure system reduce medical malpractice costs at University of Michigan hospitals? [Ted at PoL]
- Here’s a professor who might become very popular with the class action bar [Vanderbilt Law School, SSRN] P.S. Andrew Trask responds to Prof. Brian Fitzpatrick.
- Nevada: “Process Server & Office Manager Are Criminally Charged re Alleged False Filings for Debt Collector” [Neil, ABA Journal]
- 1-800-PIT-BULL: not an urban legend [six years ago on Overlawyered]
- “Wacky warning dept.: Steven Morris v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co.” [Wajert and Ted at PoL]
- “Are HOA Foreclosures a Necessary Tool or an Extortion Racket?” [Jurow, Business Insider]
- “Court Under Roberts Is Most Restrained in Decades” [Adler/Volokh, earlier]
- New Jersey Supreme Court confirms equestrian center’s legal protection in horseback-injury case [NJLRA]
- White-collar prosecution: Is “Conscious Avoidance” the Next “Honest Services”? [Christine Hurt, Conglomerate]
- Cy pres class action giveaways arrive in Canada [National Post]
- More on why Wal-Mart is spending big to fight a relatively low OSHA fine [Paul Greenberg, earlier]
- Older jobseekers find offers scarce? Someone should pass a law! Oh wait [four years ago on Overlawyered]
A product liability action filed in San Francisco alleges that “defendants failed to warn the plaintiff that playing with a sharp sword displayed in its store would result in the plaintiff slicing his hand when he attempted to place it back in its sheath.” [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar](& welcome Bainbridge readers)
Following a Nevada jury’s highly controversial $500 million verdict over allegedly inadequate warnings against multiple patient use, as well as bad publicity over possible abuse by music legend Michael Jackson, “Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries recently announced it will stop production of its sedative propofol, which many worry will intensify an already existing shortage of one of the most widely used anesthetics in the United States.” [Abnormal Use, earlier]