Dobbs v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Filing 1018432941

[9768045] Vacated and Remanded. Terminated on the merits after oral hearing. Written, signed, published;. Judges Briscoe, Henry (authoring judge) and Hartz. Mandate to issue.

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Dobbs v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Case: 08-6018 Document: 01018432941 FILED Date Filed: 06/02/2010 Page: 1 Doc. 1018432941 U n i t e d States Court of Appeals T e n t h Circuit J u n e 2, 2010 PUBLISH U N I T E D STATES COURT OF APPEALS T E N T H CIRCUIT E l i s a b e t h A. Shumaker C l e r k of Court A N N A B E L DOBBS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. W Y E T H PHARMACEUTICALS, Defendant-Appellee. -------------------------------------P H A R M A C E U T I C A L RESEARCH A N D MANUFACTURERS OF A M E R I C A ; PRODUCT LIABILITY A D V I S O R Y COUNCIL, INC.; C H A M B E R OF COMMERCE OF T H E UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Amici Curiae. N o . 08-6018 A P P E A L FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA ( N O . 5:04-CV-01762-D) D a v i d Charles Frederick, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P . L . L . C . , Washington, D.C. (Arnold Anderson Vickery, Vickery, Waldner & M a l l i a , L.L.P., Houston, TX and Earl Landers Vickery, Austin, TX, with him on t h e briefs), for Plaintiff-Appellant. M a l c o l m Edward Wheeler, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, L.L.P., Denver, CO (Mark H e r r ma n n , Jones Day, Chicago, IL; Thomas G. Wolfe and Douglas M. Todd, Case: 08-6018 Document: 01018432941 Date Filed: 06/02/2010 Page: 2 P h i l l i p s , McFall, McCaffrey, McVay & Murrah, P.C., Oklahoma City, OK; and D a v i d Booth Alden, Jones Day, Cleveland, OH, with him on the brief), for Defendant-Appellee. Robert A. Long, Jr., Michael X. Imbroscio, Paul W. Schmidt, and Erika F. L i e t z a n , Covington & Burling, L.L.P., Washington, D.C., filed an amicus curiae b r i e f for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in support of Defendant-Appellee. H u g h F. Young, Jr., Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc., Reston VA; K e n n e t h S. Geller and David M. Gossett, Mayer Brown, L.L.P., Washington, D . C . ; and Robin S. Conrad and Amar D. Sarwal, National Chamber Litigation C e n t e r , Inc., Washington D.C., filed an amicus curiae brief for the Product L i a b i l i t y Advisory Council, Inc. and Chamber of Commerce of the United States o f America in support of Defendant-Appellee. B e f o r e BRISCOE, Chief Judge, and HENRY and HARTZ, Circuit Judges. H E N R Y , Circuit Judge. A n n a b e l Dobbs has alleged that Wyeth Pharmaceuticals failed to a d e q u a t e l y label its antidepressant Effexor to warn of suicide risk, and that this f a i l u r e to warn caused her husband's 2002 suicide while he was taking Effexor. The district court granted partial summary judgment to Wyeth, holding that Ms. D o b b s ' s failure to warn claim against Wyeth was preempted by federal law. After the district court's decision, the Supreme Court established a new standard f o r a federal preemption defense against a failure to warn claim, holding that the p h a r ma c e u t i c a l company must demonstrate "clear evidence" that the Food and D r u g Administration would have rejected a label change had the pharmaceutical -2- Case: 08-6018 Document: 01018432941 Date Filed: 06/02/2010 Page: 3 c o mp a n y unilaterally strengthened its drug's warning label. See Wyeth v. Levine, 1 2 9 S. Ct. 1187, 1198 (2009). Accordingly, we must VACATE the district c o u r t ' s grant of partial summary judgment to Wyeth and REMAND the case to the d i s t r i c t court. On remand, the district court should first afford the parties the o p p o r t u n i t y to submit additional evidence. Then, the district court should r e c o n s i d e r the preemption issue in light of Levine's new "clear evidence" standard. -3-

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