In 1972, Neil Younger wrote his nice tune, “Alabama,” the lyrics of which included the next: “Alabama, you’ve bought the remainder of the union, that can assist you alongside; what’s going mistaken?” These lyrics occurred to us in 2013, after we learn the Weeks resolution, wherein the Alabama Supreme Courtroom endorsed innovator legal responsibility. We get how loopy California would embrace such nonsense, however how might Alabama, dwelling of Huntsville rocket scientists and inspiration for To Kill a Mockingbird, arrive at such an error? We known as the Weeks resolution “execrable” after we wrote about it right here. Two years later, we had been buzzing alongside to a larger tune, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Candy House Alabama,” when the Alabama legislature abolished the innovator legal responsibility doctrine in that nice state. (We mentioned that solonic reversal right here.)
Right this moment’s case, Watkins v. Pfizer, Inc., 2023 WL 7308325 (S.D. Alabama Nov. 6, 2023), furnishes contemporary proof that the product legal responsibility component of product identification is alive and effectively in Alabama, due to the legislature’s restoration of sanity. Watkins entails a highly regarded over-the-counter (OTC) medication. The professional se plaintiff sued a few producers, alleging that the OTC ache reliever induced him to endure from Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS). In case you’ve learn this weblog for any size of time, that whereas SJS is a really uncommon illness, it’s not so uncommon within the space of OTC litigation. SJS is usually a horrible illness, and SJS plaintiffs may be terribly sympathetic. Even so, there are authorized and medical defenses in SJS circumstances.
In Watkins, one of many defendants provided up the protection that it was not a producer, designer, or vendor of the product. It filed a movement to dismiss the case beneath Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The damage occurred in Alabama. Due to this fact, Alabama substantive regulation ruled the case. Quoting the identical 2015 statutory modification that the Weblog mentioned (Ala. Code part 6-5-530(a) says that “Designers, producers, sellers, or lessors of merchandise not recognized as having been used, ingested, or encountered by an allegedly injured occasion will not be held accountable for any alleged damage”), the Watkins resolution threw out the criticism as a result of, regardless of how liberally the professional se plaintiff’s criticism was construed — which, within the Eleventh Circuit may be fairly liberal certainly – it didn’t embrace the statutorily mandated component of figuring out a product made/bought by the defendant. The courtroom took judicial discover of publicly out there supplies, together with the defendant’s annual report, that demonstrated who makes what. The plaintiff didn’t problem the data displaying that the movant didn’t make or promote the drugs. Accordingly, the courtroom dismissed all the plaintiff’s claims towards the transferring defendant as a result of the plaintiff “didn’t state a believable declare for reduction beneath Alabama regulation towards” the transferring defendant.
As considered one of our esteemed defense-side colleagues (who performed for and gained a nationwide championship beneath Bear Bryant) would say, Roll Tide.