Friday, January 26, 2007
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania yesterday denied class certification in Blain v. Smithkline Beecham (E.D. Pa. Jan. 25, 2007). The plaintiffs sought certification of a Rule 23(b)(3) class action of all persons whose children under age 18 committed or attempted suicide while using the antidepressant drug Paxil. Judge Savage found that the class failed to meet typicality, adequacy, predominance, and superiority. Individual issues of causation, damages, and defenses would overwhelm the common issues, the court found, and differences in state tort law would make the class action unmanageable. Beck and Herrmann offer a defense-oriented analysis, including a handy list of federal cases that have rejected class actions for prescription medical product cases, as well as an argument against the American Pipe tolling rule for the statute of limitations (via Point of Law).