Williams v. Boehringer (Zantac)
Public Justice is co-counsel in this 11th Circuit appeal of a decision in a federal MDL dismissing nationwide failure-to-warn and design defect claims against the manufacturers and sellers of the pharmaceutical product Zantac and its generic forms. The appeal raises an important issue of first impression in the 11th Circuit relating to the duty of care owed by brand-name drug manufacturers to consumers of generic versions of their drugs.
The MDL plaintiffs are advancing the liability theory adopted in Public Justice’s precedent-setting California Supreme Court victory in T.H. v. Novartis Pharm. Corp. holding that, under California law, brand-name manufacturers can be sued for injuries caused by mislabeled generic versions of their drugs.
The district court rejected this so-called “innovator-liability” theory based on an “Erie-guess” that most states would reject the holding of Novartis. This case presents an important opportunity to extend the ruling in Novartis to federal court.