Friday, February 17, 2006

States Writs

Rules Would Limit Lawsuits

U.S. Agencies Seek To Preempt States

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Page D01

The Bush administration is using federal rulemaking to limit consumer rights to seek damages under state laws governing faulty products.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission will vote today on a rule that would restrict such suits in the case of mattresses that catch fire, the most recent rule changes undertaken by several agencies. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration limited consumers' ability to recover damages for injuries from agency-approved drugs


BrooklynDodger(s) comment: The Dodger(s) can't figure out how a rule by an agency can impact a lawsuit under a state statute. New avatar aside, the Dodger(s) can't claim a law degree.

However, as we look back on the intial flight of Vioxx lawsuits, we think each of those juries was asked to do something in the realm of rulemaking hearing on the risk of taking the medicine. Without agency support, they were asked, among other things, to determine whether the adverse effect was more likely than not the consequence of taking Vioxx. While there was little doubt of Merck's guilt in concealing risks, and marketing Vioxx well beyond the stomach irritation sufferers who were legitimate users, the difficulty of proving that a particular victim suffered the statistical consequences of the exposure was pretty difficult.

We're still mystified about the substance of these rules. What about the role of the industry in setting inadequate rules?

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