Supreme Court to Hear Huge Consumer Rights Case

Can victims sue if FDA has approved drug?
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2008 9:30 AM CDT
Supreme Court to Hear Huge Consumer Rights Case
An intravenous drug meant to ease the pain of a migraine led to the amputation of Diana Levine's hand and forearm.   (Flickr)

The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in what could be one of the biggest consumer-rights cases in years, reports the New York Times. The case focuses on whether customers who have been harmed by products that meet federal regulations can sue the manufacturer for damages, and is centered on a Vermont woman whose arm was amputated after an intravenous migraine drug gave her gangrene.

The woman sued the drug company in Vermont and won more than $6 million—but now that award is being disputed in the Supreme Court, whose term opens next month. The legal principle in question is called pre-emption, and the Roberts court has taken on a slew of similar cases in an attempt to clarify what one expert calls “the fiercest battle in products liability law today.” (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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