Wyeth v. Levine (06-1249), Summers v. Earth Island Institute (07-463), Negusie v. Holder (07-499) and order list
Greetings, Court fans!
The Court issued three decisions and an Order List this week. The ruling garnering all the press came in Wyeth v. Levine (06-1249), which is being hailed as a victory for patients, consumers, and . . . trial lawyers. The plaintiff, Levine, was a musician who went to the hospital seeking relief from migraine headaches and nausea and ended up having part of her arm amputated. A botched injection of Wyeth's anti-nausea drug Phenergan using the IV push method sent the drug into an artery instead of a vein, which led to gangrene, and eventually resulted in the amputation of Levine's forearm. Levine sued Wyeth in Vermont state court alleging that the Phenergan label was defective because it failed to properly warn clinicians of the risks of the IV-push method. Wyeth moved for summary judgment, arguing that failure-to-warn claims based on Phenergan's labelling were pre-empted by federal law. The trial court rejected Wyeth's pre-emption arguments and a jury ultimately awarded Levine $7.4 million. The Vermont Supreme Court affirmed.