A judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida presiding over the In Re: Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2924, has held that state labeling and design defect claims against the makers, re-packagers, retailers, and distributors of generic forms for the popular heartburn medication Zantac were preempted by federal law. The court subsequently dismissed these claims against 32 such Zantac generics makers and distributors.
The Zantac MDL was created by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on February 6, 2020. The plaintiffs allege that ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac and its generic forms, breaks down into N-nitrosodimethylamine (“NDMA”), which is part of a group of compounds that have been shown to increase the risk of cancer. The plaintiffs allege a variety of product liability and related claims against the makers and distributors of Zantac and its generic forms under federal and state laws.
The U.S. Federal Judiciary announced new safeguards and procedures to protect sensitive court records in light of a recent apparent cybersecurity breach.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security issued an emergency directive regarding “a known compromise involving SolarWinds Orion products that are currently being exploited by malicious actors.” The judiciary was notified of this issue by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and suspended use of this IT network tool at the national and local levels. An apparent compromise of the confidentiality of the Federal Judiciary’s CM/ECF system is now being investigated in connection with the breach.
The Northern District of California recently dismissed a Plaintiff’s claim that the term “vanilla” was misleading on the label of a soymilk product, but left the proverbial door open for the filing of an amended pleading.
In Clark v. Westbrae Natural, Inc., Case No. 20-cv-03221, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant’s use of the word “vanilla” on the label of its organic unsweetened soymilk misrepresented to consumers that the product’s vanilla flavor was derived exclusively from the vanilla bean plant. Gas chromatography‒mass spectrometry analyses showed that the flavor came from a non-vanilla source. Plaintiff alleged he would not have purchased the product had he realized the flavor was not derived from the vanilla bean, and asserted claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumers Legal Remedies Act. He argued that the product should be labeled “artificially flavored.”
The California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, recently affirmed judgment in favor of a fruit snack manufacturer who claimed “fruit” was stated to be the first ingredient on a front label but listed “fruit puree” first in the product’s ingredient list.
Plaintiff’s Fruit Snack–Based Claims
Defendants in Iglesias v. Welch Foods, Inc., et al., No. A159565, manufactured fruit snacks with a label that stated, “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!” at the top of the front label. The snacks’ “Nutrition Fact Panel” then listed “FRUIT PUREE” as the first ingredient, followed by corn syrup.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter ways of life across the globe, clinical trials must be adapted for participant safety while maintaining accuracy in the midst of the ongoing crisis. In September 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its “Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,” providing specific recommendations for ongoing or upcoming clinic trial activities.
The New Jersey Court Rules were amended in July 2020, effective September 1, 2020. A number of these amendments are important for litigators, and this post provides a summary.