Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reaffirms Fealty to Frye Standard

Although our nation and our courts are still very much in the midst of addressing the acute aspects and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will come a time when our courts return to more “normal” operations. It is likely that this will coincide with an influx of new litigation relating to COVID-19 claims of many kinds, including, of course, personal injury and, tragically, wrongful death claims. For many of those claims, the use of experts and expert testimony to address issues of causation will…
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs May Assert Negligent Design Claims Against Drug Companies

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Lance v. Wyeth (2014 Pa.LEXIS 205) recently ruled that pharmaceutical companies can be held liable for negligent design, testing, marketing, and distribution of drugs regulated by the FDA. This decision alters the landscape of Pennsylvania law because pharmaceutical companies previously succeeded in having similar claims dismissed based upon the learned intermediary doctrine. Under this doctrine, the manufacturer of prescription medications discharges its duty to warn users of the risks associated with its products by warning the prescribing physician of…
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Opens Door for Negligent Design Claims Against Pharmaceutical Manufacturers

In a decision with significant potential ramifications, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued a ruling that pharmaceutical companies can be held liable for negligence in the design and marketing of drugs, regardless of claims that the drugs had been properly labeled and tested, as well as approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The ruling, announced January 22nd, upholds an intermediate appellate court decision against a Pfizer, Inc. subsidiary in a wrongful death action involving the diet drug Redux. In its 4-2 decision, the…
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Pennsylvania – Is it Shifting the Burden in Product Liability Suits?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court may soon turn the burden in product liability suits on its head.  Historically, Pennsylvania has applied the Second Restatement of Torts.  The Second Restatement focuses on the consumer’s expectations and only requires that he show at the bare minimum: that the product was defective when used for its intended purpose and that an alternative design exists.  Reasonableness and feasibility are not factors in the analysis. In Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., the Court is set to decide whether the Third…
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