Another Liability Shield for Vaccine Manufacturers: U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Design Defect Claims Against Vaccine Manufacturers Are Preempted


On February 22, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, 562 U.S. __ (2011). The Court’s 6-2 opinion, written by Justice Scalia (Justice Kagan took no part in the decision), held that design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers are preempted by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (“NCVIA” or “Act”).

The NCVIA was enacted in response to increasing tort claims against vaccine manufacturers, their inability to obtain liability insurance, and the attendant fear of a vaccine shortage if manufacturers decided to exit the market. The Act created a no-fault system of compensation for claimants who demonstrate that they have suffered an adverse side effect from a vaccine. In return, vaccine manufacturers are significantly shielded from tort liability. A claimant is only permitted to file suit after seeking relief through the compensation system. In addition, manufacturers are generally not liable for failure-to-warn claims if they are in regulatory compliance. The immunity relevant to this case (42 U.S.C. § 300aa-22(b)(2)) limits liability for a vaccine’s unavoidable side effects...

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.