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January 18, 2008

Supreme Court Grants Review in Vermont Supreme Court Preemption Case

The Supreme Court granted review on January 18 in Wyeth v. Levine, --- S.Ct. ----, 75 USLW 3500, 76 USLW 3018 (U.S.Vt. Jan 18, 2008) (NO. 06-1249) of the Vermont Supreme Court's decision in Levine v. Wyeth, --- A.2d ----, 2006 WL 3041078 (Vt. Oct. 27, 2006).  The plaintiff in the case suffered severe injury and the amputation of her arm as a result of being injected with defendant's drug Phenergan, a nausea medication. She claimed at trial that Wyeth was negligent and failed to provide adequate warnings of the known dangers of injecting Phenergan directly into a patient's vein.  Wyeth argued that the trial court should not have permitted the jury to consider plaintiff's claims because they conflicted with Wyeth's obligations under federal law regulating prescription drug labels.  The trial court permitted the case to go to the jury, which found for the plaintiff on both the negligence and products liability claims and awarded her $2.4 million in economic damages and $5 million in non-economic damages, which after adjustments, was reduced pursuant to the parties' stipulation to a total of $6,774,000.  Wyeth argued on appeal that the warning claim conflicted with the warning label approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  The Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the judgment for the plaintiff, holding that there was no conflict between state and federal law requiring preemption of the plainiff's claim.

MKS

January 18, 2008 | Permalink

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