FDA preemption case gets argument date

Although this term’s Supreme Court docket is full of cases involving the death penalty, alleged prosecutorial misconduct and federal sentencing guidelines, one of the most closely watched cases involves a medical device – and whether FDA approval trumps state law negligence claims.

That’s why federal officials, trial attorneys, public interests groups, the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups will be focused on the Court Dec. 4, when the justices hear oral arguments in the case of Riegel v. Medtronic.
More on Medtronic and the battle over federal preemption can be found here.

One interesting additional note in this case: attorneys at the Public Citizen Litigation Group representing the petitioner only recently discovered that the patient in the case passed away. Now the respondent – led be veteran appellate attorney Ted Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who was on President George W. Bush’s short list to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general – wants the case dismissed as moot. Petitioners contend that since the patient’s wife is also a party to the suit, the case should go forward.

UPDATE: The patient’s wife, as executor of the estate, has officially been substituted as the petitioner inthe matter, meaning it will go forward.

UPDATE 2: In related news, this is not a good week for Medtronic.

UPDATE 3: And the lawsuits have already started flying.

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