Subject: Damages

Michigan Repeals Pharma Immunity Provision


Michigan recently signed into law a repeal of the immunity provision under its Product Liability Act, presenting a new litigation risk in Michigan for pharmaceutical companies. The provision had granted near-complete immunity to pharma for the past 30 years, as the only of its kind nationwide.  Michigan’s new law—Senate Bill 410 (SB 410)—removes this immunity, leaving intact a rebuttable presumption of non-liability and caps on non-economic damages.

SB 410 goes into effect on February 13, 2024, and is likely non-retroactive, meaning alleged injuries would have to occur after that date for the new law to apply.  Commentators predict increased Michigan litigation relating to opioid use, insulin price gouging, and Medicaid fraud.

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Amendments to Minnesota Wrongful Death and Survival Statutes Open the Door to Pain and Suffering Claim


On May 20, 2023, the amendments to the Minnesota wrongful death and survival statutes, Minn. Stat. §§ 573.01, 573.02, became effective. This means that duly appointed administrators can now bring claims for “all damages suffered by the decedent resulting from the injury prior to the decedent’s death” – on top of the pecuniary losses that have traditionally been available. While the meaning of the term “all damages” has yet to be fully hashed out, this new change appears to open the door to claims for pre-death personal injuries, pain and suffering, and more.

Traditionally, Minnesota law has not provided compensation for personal injuries following the death of a decedent—including in wrongful death cases. See Holtegaard v. Soo Line R.R. Co., No. A13-2079, 2014 WL 3396871, at *3 (Minn. Ct. App. July 14, 2014). In fact, the applicable jury instructions have specifically excluded amounts “for the pain and suffering” of the decedent before death. CIVJIG 91.75 Wrongful Death, 4A Minn. Prac., Jury Instr. Guides (6th ed.). Instead, Minnesota historically allowed damages only for what courts have interpreted to be pecuniary losses “created by the decedent’s death.” Regie de l’Assurance Auto. du Quebec v. Jensen, 399 N.W.2d 85, 89 (Minn. 1987). These have included the financial losses associated with death (e.g., medical expenses and funeral costs), as well as the loss of advice, comfort, assistance, and protection previously provided by the decedent. Fussner v. Andert, 113 N.W.2d 355, 363 (1961).

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Tort Reform Comes to Florida


The new law should limit the overall tort liability confronted by all types of companies and individuals who find themselves facing a lawsuit in Florida. This update focuses on the changes for statutes of limitation, comparative negligence and the admissibility of evidence of medical charges at trial. Florida courts will undoubtedly see many challenges to the new law over the next few years.

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