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Florida Judge Denies Bid to Toss Product Liability Lawsuit

A federal judge in Florida denied a motion made by Sandoz, Inc. to toss a product liability lawsuit that was made by a patient who claimed that she was injured by their contaminated cancer drugs. The judge ruled that the company’s preemption argument was not enough to prevent the product liability case from moving forward in the courts.

Facts of the Case

In the case of Amy Trahan et al. v. Sandoz Inc., Ms. Trahan filed a lawsuit against Sandoz in 2013 after she took injections of Sandoz’s generic form drugs of methotrexate to treat her choriocarcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer that occurs in a woman’s uterus. She took the drug originally in 2010, just before the company issued a voluntary recall of the generic drugs. The recall occurred because Sandoz found glass flakes in some of the vials of the drugs because of delamination of the glass.

Ms. Trahan claims that she was injured by the glass flakes in her drug injections, including suffering from multiple lung collapses and several strokes. She sued Sandoz under a strict liability design defect and negligence claim, claiming that the company used substandard glass vials to package their cancer drugs.

Lawyers for Sandoz argued in court that the case should be thrown out because it is preempted under federal law. They claim that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prevented the company from changing the design and packaging of the drug because it must remain identical to the brand-name equivalent. However, the Florida federal judge in this case did not agree.

Ruling of the Court

Judge Marcia Morales stated in her ruling that “The court is not persuaded that it was impossible for Sandoz to use a safer container . . . Accepting the allegations . . . to the extent Sandoz used low-quality or defective glass vials which were more susceptible to delamination, Sandoz has not shown as a matter of law that it was impossible for it to use a different, non-defective glass vial.”

Another judge in the case agreed and went on to state that the company may have chosen the glass vials prior to the FDA approval of their generic drug as well as that there is no basis to find that Sandoz was required under the federal law to use the substandard glass vials to begin with. She concluded that the mere fact that the company could not change the vials after approval does not establish “impossibility preemption” under the law.

Call a Products Liability Lawyer Today

Companies and manufacturers should be held responsible if the products that they make hurt their consumers. If you or someone that you know has been injured by a product in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, or West Palm Beach, let the experienced product liability lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm help. Call the office or contact us today for a private and free review of your claims.

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