Press Release February 26, 2013

Goodwin Procter Prevails for Teva Pharmaceuticals Before U.S. Court of Appeals, Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Related Case

Goodwin attorneys achieved a significant victory on behalf of client Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a judgment on the pleadings for Teva in a products liability appeal involving the prescription drug metoclopramide. Morris v. PLIVA, Inc., No. 12-30319, 2013 WL 563506 (5th Cir. Feb. 14, 2013) (per curiam).

The plaintiff alleged that she developed a neurological movement disorder as a result of using metoclopramide manufactured by Teva and other generic drug manufacturers. The District Court for the Western District of Louisiana dismissed plaintiff’s claims under the Louisiana Products Liability Act sounding in construction defect, design defect, failure to warn, and breach of express warranty.

The Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that all of the plaintiffs’ claims are preempted by federal law under PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, 131 S. Ct. 2567 (2011) (a victory Goodwin helped achieve for Teva), and Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee, 531 U.S. 341 (2001).

The Goodwin team was led by Rich Oetheimer, who argued before the Fifth Circuit panel on behalf of the generic manufacturing defendants, and included partner Jonathan Price and associate Carla Pasquale. The team continues to brief the issue of federal preemption for Teva in metoclopramide cases in multiple jurisdictions across the country.

In addition, Mr. Oetheimer, Mr. Price and two Goodwin colleague – appellate litigator William Jay – recently filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court on a closely related preemption issue. The Supreme Court will hear argument March 19 in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, which presents the question whether state-law product-defect claims can survive preemption under Mensing. Goodwin’s amicus brief, filed on behalf of DRI—The Voice of the Defense Bar, is available here.