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April 18, 2008

Arkansas Supreme Court Reverses No Preemption Finding in Light of Riegel

In a February ruling, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a hearing device manufacturer holding that a design defect claim regarding the allegedly defective product, approved for marketing by the Food & Drug Administration, was not preempted by the Medical Device Amendments (MDA) under which such regulatory approvals are granted.  Less than two weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court decided exactly the opposite in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., (169 L.Ed. 2d 892 (2008). When the defendant-manufacturer petitioined for reconsideration in light of Riegel, the Arkansas court reversed its earlier ruling in Despain v. Bradburn, (2008 Ark. LEXIS 233) and held that the state-law-based design defect claim was preempted.  A concurrence bemoaned the conclusion in Riegel that state common law claims are preempted by the MDA and expressed "dismay at the summary abandonment of venerable principles of state common law that have been developed over many generations."

JDP

April 18, 2008 | Permalink

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