The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal that will consolidate two conflicting circuit-court rulings, and the decision will become law across the United States. The legal issues are somewhat dry and technical, but the outcome of this case could have a major impact on Nevada prescription drug liability lawsuits.
Our society has a schizophrenic relationship with prescription drugs — on the one hand, we rely on new medical advances to treat conditions that have previously been untreatable and cure faster and more fully those ailments that already have treatments. On the other hand, a string of problems related to prescription medications such as Reglan problems, Nevada Vioxx side effects, and other hazardous outcomes of pharmaceutical drugs. When Nevadans suffer unsafe prescription drug harm, the path to legal compensation is long and complicated.
Frequently, the prescription drug manufacturers attempt to move the trial out of state court to the federal level, where they can take advantage of longer trial processes, less sympathetic juries, and in some cases weaker regulations. Another popular strategy the drug companies employ is to attempt to get the lawsuit thrown out entirely on the basis of the claim that federal protections for Nevada victims of unsafe products preempt state laws that attempt to do the same. This gambit does not end the basis of the claim, but it successfully stalls the case and forces an unprepared plaintiff to refile the lawsuit in another venue and face additional fees.
At present, the Eighth and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals have ruled on cases with this sort of claim and have held that lawsuits based on state laws are not precluded by federal law. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court has been filed and granted, and the Court will issue a ruling in the coming months. That decision will not only confirm or overrule the existing Circuit Court decisions but it will also become law in the remaining nine circuits. If you or a loved one are seeking legal action after a harmful experience with a prescription pharmaceutical drug, contact us for a free consultation at one of our two convenient Las Vegas law offices.