Reglan Settlements Pending After Supreme Court Ruling

Branden Samuels | July 20th, 2011 | Posted in Recent Settlements

Reglan lawyers and litigants alike are still trying to determine how the recent Supreme Court ruling in Pliva Inc. v. Mensing will affect pending litigation against both brandname and generic manufacturers of the popular medication.  Hundreds of victims had relied on the liability of drugmakers of both sorts.  Now their Reglan settlements hang in the balance.

How will the Supreme Court’s decision impact Reglan lawsuit settlements?

The short answer: nobody yet knows. Not one Reglan lawsuit has gone to trial or reached settlement since the decision was handed down in mid June.  But parties can learn a lot from the 5-4 decision in favor of the defendant, Pliva Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest generic drug makers in the United States.

For one: unless Congress acts soon, it may be a lot more difficult to litigate against generic drugmakers when it comes to generic Reglan liability. A generic Reglan lawsuit may now have to target Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer, the company that makes brand name Reglan.

Is generic Reglan liability off the table?

Even Supreme Court Justices in the majority admit the ruling may be unfair to people who have been injured by generic Reglan. The Pliva Inc. v. Mensing decision virtually erases generic Reglan liability from generic makers.

The Justices ruled that the federal law holding brand name drug makers accountable for side effects pre-empts, or trumps, state law that requires generic makers adequately warn about the risk of side effects.

It’s unclear at this time how the new ruling will affect people who have already filed a brand name Reglan lawsuit.

So far, nearly 1,000 people have filed a Reglan lawsuit – generic or brand name – in a New Jersey state court, where the claims are currently consolidated under Judge Carol E. Higbee. The first Reglan lawsuit could go to trial later this year, with Reglan settlements distributed at any time during the litigation.