U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case that Could Affect Patients Injured by Generic Drugs in New York and New Jersey

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to review a case that considers whether the makers of generic pharmaceuticals may be held liable under state law for personal injuries that arise as a result of drug design defects. In Mutual Pharmaceutical Co v. Bartlett, U.S., a drug manufacturer seeks to overturn a $21 million jury award in favor of a New Hampshire woman, Karen Bartlett, who was left nearly blind and with lesions on more than half of her body after she reacted to a generic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller. According to the drug company, federal law not only bars the injured woman's claim but also preempts Bartlett's state law design defect claims.

In May, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend a June 2011 Supreme Court holding that state law claims related to inadequate label warnings were preempted by federal law to Bartlett's design defect claims. Instead, the federal court upheld the jury's damages award. In the company's appeal, Mutual Pharmaceutical reportedly claims that generic drug manufacturers should not be held liable for selling pharmaceutical products that were approved by the United States government through the Food and Drug Administration. In response, Bartlett argues that her jury verdict should be upheld because it was based upon a state law that is not in conflict with any federal legislation. The case is set for oral argument in March and a decision is reportedly expected to be released in June.

Although prescription drugs are often used to treat a wide variety of serious health issues, they can potentially cause severe or fatal side effects. Sometimes, a physician may fail to provide a patient with sufficient warning regarding the possible side effects associated with a pharmaceutical drug. Other times, the drug itself may have caused a patient's harm. In too many cases, a drug manufacturer was aware of the potential for harm and simply failed to warn consumers.

Despite rigorous federal safety regulations, some prescription drugs prove harmful or fatal to patients who ingest them. Many potential harmful prescription drug lawsuits are currently being evaluated throughout New York and New Jersey. If you suffered health complications, a severe or disabling injury, or a loved one died after taking a drug manufacturer's product, you should contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able.

At the Paleudis Law Firm, LLC, our hardworking and experienced New York personal injury and accident law lawyers are ready and willing to help clients who were hurt by a pharmaceutical drug achieve the compensation they deserve. With more than 45 years of combined experience, our knowledgeable attorneys represent individuals who are located in New York and New Jersey. To discuss your case with a committed personal injury lawyer today, please call the Paleudis Law Firm, LLC at (212) 835-6768 in New York City. You may also contact our capable attorneys through the law firm's website.

Additional Resources:

US Supreme Court to review lawsuits over flaws in generic drugs, by Terry Baynes and Jonathan Stempel, Chicago Tribune